To those of you who have not made a trip to a gynecologist, the very thought of it probably makes you feel uncomfortable. Most of us are not even comfortable with looking at our own bodies, so baring it all in front of a physician you just met is not the most appealing idea. However, we at Henderson & Walton cannot stress to you enough how important it is to see a gynecologist regularly. Proper gynecological care helps prevent many undesired cancers, diseases, and other illnesses by allowing early detection. Yes, your first gynecologist visit can be scary, but knowing how to prepare and what to expect can be very beneficial.
When to Visit:
Our doctors recommend that your first visit should be at the age of 21, or when you start becoming sexually active. Additionally, women and girls of any age need to visit their gynecologist if they notice irregularities in their breasts, genitalia, menstrual cycles, or if they become pregnant. Make sure you schedule your appointment when you will not be having your period. Bleeding can affect the accuracy of the test results. To be preventative and maintain your good health, our doctors recommend visiting your gynecologist once every year unless you are having problems or your doctor has advised otherwise.
Before your visit, look online at the practice’s website to see if you can get your paperwork online. At Henderson & Walton all your paperwork is accessible online and just needs to be printed and completed.
Have your insurance card with you when you come in for your first visit so the receptionist can scan your card into your account and your insurance can be billed correctly. Most preventative visits are covered at no cost to you.
If you are on any type of medications, bring a list of those medications with the name of the prescription and the dosage.
Be prepared to go to the bathroom. Almost all our patients will need to have a urine sample, before they go see the doctor. Bring water with you in case you have difficulty going to the bathroom or if you went to the bathroom prior to your visit.
Meeting with the Nurse and Medical Assistant:
When you are called by the nurse, she will take your height and weight, and ask a list of questions regarding your personal, family, sexual, and medical history. After you’ve answered all of the questions, she will instruct you to go to the bathroom to give a urine sample in cups provided in the bathrooms. Once completed, you will be called to a room, or if a room is not ready yet, you will be sent to the waiting room. Once in the room, the medical assistant will take your vital signs and she will instruct you to remove your clothing and to cover up with our drapes once she has left the room. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable about being naked, but the drapes will cover you, and the doctor will only uncover the areas needed for the examination. When you are ready, the doctor will come in to meet you.
Meeting the Doctor:
It’s normal to feel nervous, but there is really nothing to worry about. Your first appointment is usually very simple, and your doctor will spend time getting to know you. The doctor will ask about you and your family’s medical history and your sexual health. Many women may feel uncomfortable discussing such personal and intimate issues, but it is very important to be honest. Being honest with your physician will help them tailor the best treatment for you. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. Ask about anything you’re unclear of. Sometimes if you are nervous, you forget what you want to ask your physician. Try writing down a list of your concerns. The most common concerns usually deal with irregular periods, soreness or lump in breast, contraception, and abnormal discharge or bleeding.
Each exam depends on the length of your first appointment, your age, your sexual history and whether or not you have any particular symptoms. It’s understandable to be anxious at this point, but your physician will explain each part of the exam before he/she performs it. The following is a list of exams that might be performed:
Breast examination: Your doctor will exam your breasts to detect whether there are any lumps or abnormalities. Breast exams are one of the most important early breast cancer screenings.
Pap smear: During this routine screening procedure, cells from your cervix are gently scraped away and then examined for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. This test is performed on women over the age of 21.
Pelvic examination: A complete physical exam of a woman’s pelvic organs by your doctor. Exams are performed based on your age, whether you are sexually active, and the extent of your symptoms.
Remember that all women are tested in the same way, so do not feel like you are the only one going through this.
Gynecological care is important, regardless of your age, marital status, or level of sexual activity. The first appointment can be the most nerve-wracking, but being prepared and having the knowledge of what to expect can ease your anxiety. Whether it concerns your health or your understanding about a treatment or exam, don’t hesitate to ask your physician questions. It’s important that you find a gynecologist you trust and one that you feel comfortable with. We understand the importance of having the right gynecologist and have 11 physicians to select from.
DISCLAIMER: This blog provides general infor¬ma¬tion and discussion about med¬i¬cine, health and related subjects. The words and other con¬tent provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
Never dis¬re¬gard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doc¬tor or 911 immediately.
The views expressed on this blog and web¬site have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.