4 Totally Normal Things That Happen To Everyone At The Gyno, So Don't Panic
Visiting a gynecologist for the first time can be a very nerve-wracking experience for many women. Being nervous to have your most intimate areas examined by a stranger is naturally a very normal thing. But the truth is that regular trips to the gyno are an important part of maintaining your sexual and reproductive health, so while it may not be the most fun, knowing that everything is as it should be down there is worth the discomfort. Learning more about the things that happen to everyone at the gyno is a great way to help ease any residual worries you might have.
I spoke to Crystal Bowe, MD, MPH, a North Carolina-based family physician, to find out what a new patient can expect from their first gynecological exam. "When you have your first gynecologic exam, it is normal to be nervous, but you should relax because the visit will not be nearly as bad as you think," Dr. Bowe tells Elite Daily. "First, remember that you do not have to do anything you are not comfortable with. Also, remember that your doctor is a trained professional with over a decade of experience before they ever saw their first patient. They have heard and seen it all before. So you should not feel uncomfortable or ashamed of any questions or issues you are having."
1You'll be asked to undress.
The thing that freaked me out the most about having my first examination was honestly just the idea of having someone I didn't know fishing around down there, but I soon found out that it's not nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. "When you go to the gynecologist, you should expect to have a pelvic exam," explains Dr. Bowe. "This means you will undress from the waist down. You will be given a gown to cover up with, so don't worry about being naked in the exam room."
2They will ask you about your sexual history.
"Your doctor will talk to you about your periods, your history of sexual partners, and any history of abnormal pap smears or prior STDs," says Dr. Bowe. "It is essential you tell them everything about your history so that they can [help] make the right decisions for you."
I know, I know — talking about your sexual history with a stranger can feel really weird, and at times, maybe even "judge-y". No doctor should ever judge you for what you say during your consult, and your information is totally confidential. But even though doctors shouldn't ever make moral judgments about your sexual choices, you are totally within your right to end the appointment if you feel uncomfortable. Also, don't be afraid to ask your friends for referrals to gynos they've had positive experiences with.
3You will have a pelvic exam.
"This is when they insert a speculum in the vagina to look at your cervix," says Bowe. "If something hurts, be sure to let your doctor know, as they can adjust the speculum to try and make you more comfortable. The exam will last no more than three to five minutes."
Don't worry, it'll all be over before you know it. Fortunately, most gynecologists have mastered the art of making casual chit-chat while they do their thing, which is a welcome distraction, IMO.
4.Then you may have a digital exam.
"After the speculum is removed, the doctor may then do [an exam with their fingers] palpating your uterus and ovaries with a gloved hand," says Bowe.
This might feel a bit weird, but try to stay as relaxed as possible. Once your examination is finished, your doctor should be able to address any of your questions, comments, or concerns in regards to your reproductive health — and then you should be good to go!
"Seeing your doctor for your regular gynecologic care is important, and should be something all women make a point to do yearly," urges Bowe.
Although I can't promise visiting the gyno will ever be fun, once you've found a doctor you're comfortable with, it will eventually become NBD. If you're still worried about it, there's nothing wrong with asking a close friend or family member to come with for moral support. Try to remember how important it is to make sure your body is healthy and functioning properly. Having that peace of mind for the rest of the year should make that annual half-hour visit totally worth it. You're doing the best possible thing for your body, so embrace it! You should feel like a bad a*ss for taking charge of your sexual health.
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