Trip to the gynaecologist? We completely understand the awkwardness. Sitting there with pants off, legs splayed out isn’t exactly, well, the most communication-friendly pose after all. A trip to the gynaecologist can be downright nerve-wracking. But trust us (and them), it’s highly likely that whatever you’re going to bring up is nothing new or even embarrassing; from vaginas, breasts, labour to weird odours and intimacy; gynaecologists really have seen and heard some pretty interesting things. A lot of women feel the need to visit the gynaecologist is only when they are pregnant or when they are suffering from any abnormalities in their reproductive life. This is a wrong belief. Like how it is recommended to have regular dental check-ups and eye check-ups, it is also important to ensure that your reproductive system stays functional, for which regular visits to gynaecologists are important and essential part of maintaining your health. Your first gyno trip might seem completely foreign- and even scary. The thought of letting a total stranger examine your vagina and chat about what’s causing a low sex drive or why your vagina is itchy might make you want to skip the appointment altogether.
But here’s the thing: Seeing an ob/gyn doesn’t have to be intimidating or uncomfortable; in fact, it can even be pretty damn empowering. Below, are 6 more things every person should know before going to the gyno.
1. You don’t need a reason to schedule your appointment.
Many recommend that girls see a gynaecologist for the first time somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15. If you’re older and have never seen a gynaecologist, don’t let this guideline put you off from making an appointment.
2. Follow the 24-hour rule.
Do not engage in sexual intercourse or douche your vagina before a pap test as this will cause a shift in the flora and will yield no result and makes your doctor’s job very tough! Oh, and remember it is not necessary to shave or wax around the vagina before your visit to a gynaecologist. However, you’ll want to shower that day, using a gentle pH balanced wash or wipe to maintain proper hygiene. Yes, we know that’s a lot to remember but ladies, these are super important details!
3. If you have your period, it’s a good idea to reschedule.
Having your periods during your visit is not a good idea as, during the period, the blood can make the results inaccurate. Hormonal changes during the period can make a breast exam really uncomfortable and vaginal bleeding makes a pelvic exam messy. It’s best to reschedule.
4. Be honest about your sex life and your menstruation cycle.
Do not be afraid to be open and honest about the details of your sex life. You should also mention any pain, cramps, heavy bleeding, irregularity, or mood changes you experience with your period.
5. You don’t need a pap test if you’re under 21.
A pelvic exam is performed yearly once patients hit age 21 or so. In this quick test that usually lasts little more than ten minutes, your doctor will look for any signs of abnormalities and illness. They will look at body parts including the vulva, ovaries, cervix, uterus, and bladder. The doctor will also insert a metal device called a speculum into the vagina. The test may be a little bit uncomfortable, and the speculum may feel cold, but it won’t be painful.
6. Come prepared with a list of questions.
There are so many questions floating in your mind right before your appointment, but you forget to check with your doctor. Happened to all of us, right? That’s why it’s important to make a note of all of them, so that you don’t miss out on anything during your appointment. It could be anything, so don’t feel embarrassed. Your gynae is not going to judge you!