Visiting an OBGYN is very important, and it is something that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends beginning between the ages of 13 and 15. However, visiting for the first time can be an uncertain and even scary prospect, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. To help you feel better about your first visit, here is what you need to know.
What to Expect
When visiting a gynecologist for the first time, many patients may want to run a few tests. These will depend on a variety of factors including age, any concerns you have, and if you are sexually active. In some cases, you may opt for STI testing and pregnancy testing if that’s a concern of yours. Along with basic tests, your weight, height, and blood pressure measurements are also noted. In this regard, it’s the same as what you would expect from a regular doctor’s visit.
Gynecologists will often also perform an exam of your external genitals to make sure that everything looks healthy. They might also perform a pelvic floor exam or pap smear. However, in some instances, your first visit may include simply meeting with the gynecologist to talk about any concerns or questions you might have. Younger patients under 21 typically won’t need a pelvic exam or a pap smear.
What to Expect During the Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear
If you are 21 or older, these two exams will be expected, and they are often what people worry about the most. However, aside from some mild discomfort, there is nothing to be nervous about! During a pelvic exam, the gynecologist will look at your vulva, ovaries, cervix, and uterus for any signs of illnesses or abnormalities. This is one of the most important aspects of gynecological care, and it can help ensure that no problems go undetected for too long.
A pap smear, also performed once patients turn 21, is a relatively painless test for cervical cancer which involves gently removing cells from the cervix. Between the ages of 21 and 30, this test is usually performed every three years; however, patients 30 and over may go longer between tests.
Will It Be Uncomfortable or Awkward?
Another reason many first-time visitors feel nervous is that they fear the visit will be awkward or uncomfortable. While this is a normal thing to feel, your visit will most likely be nowhere near as awkward as you might be expecting.
A good gynecologist will be an expert at putting patients at ease, and they will usually explain everything thoroughly throughout the exam. You can expect to be asked questions about your medical history, your overall health, your menstrual cycle, and if you’re sexually active or not. It’s important to remember to be upfront and honest with your gynecologist, as they only have your well-being in mind.
Easing Your Nerves
If you’re still feeling nervous about your first visit, it’s good to keep in mind that you can also bring someone along for support. Sometimes having a close friend or family member to go with can help make the experience a little less nerve-wracking. Many women find that having either their mothers, grandmothers, partners, or a close girl friend nearby can lessen their worries.
Gynecological care services are one of the most important aspects of women’s health, and it is something that you shouldn’t forgo. Without proper care, you could risk potentially dangerous problems going undetected, some of which could lead to infertility or more life-threatening conditions. While your first gynecological care visit will always be a somewhat nervous endeavor, once it’s over you’re sure to feel more confident for the next time.
When you’re looking for the best in gynecological care, contact My OB/Gyne today!