How To Feel More Comfortable At The Gyno If You Get Nervous Before Every Appointment
The first time I paid a visit to my OBGYN, I begged my mom to come with me for moral support. I wasn’t the type of person who felt comfortable talking about, let alone showing my private area to a total stranger, and her company put my mind at ease. It’s been a long time since that first appointment, and now I actually look forward to my yearly exams, but that's me. It’s not unheard of to feel awkward at the gyno, no matter how many appointments you've endured, but figuring out how to feel more comfortable at the gyno, rather than just grinning and bearing it when a checkup is necessary, takes a lot of stress off something that’s really not supposed to be stressful at all.
Personally, I consider myself very fortunate to be seeing the gynecologist my mother and sister go to. Even though I’d never met him, I felt some level of comfort knowing two of the closest women to me knew and trusted this man, and unfortunately, not everyone is going to have that experience. According to a press release sent to Elite Daily, a national survey issued by Orlando Health found that 40 percent of women were, to some extent, concerned about what their first OBGYN exam would be like. This, Danielle Forshee, LLC, doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker tells Elite Daily, is most likely due to something called White Coat Syndrome.
White Coat Syndrome, Forshee explains, is when someone has a fear of visiting the doctor. Depending on how severe of a fear, it can cause people to not only feel anxiety, but it could reflect in their physical health as well by causing “an increase in blood pressure,” and feelings of dizziness and nausea. “With the gynecologist,” she says, “ this is likely heightened to some due to the private nature of that area of our body and topic of conversation.”
Just because it's normal to feel nervous before a gynecologist visit, doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best to calm those nerves. After all, you go to the gynecologist to make sure you're in good health, so it's important that you feel comfortable making and keeping these appointments in order to stay on top of whatever might be going down down there. If you feel uncomfortable going to the gyno, here are a few strategies to ease your anxiety ASAP.
1. Meet With Your OBGYN Before An Exam
Think of meeting with your gyno like a job interview. You wouldn't accept a position that, deep down in your gut, didn't feel like the right fit, would you? There has to be some level of chemistry and comfort between a doctor and their patient, and because your gynecologist is going to get all kinds of personal with you, it's vital that you feel 110 percent safe.
Dr. Christine Greves, an OBGYN at Orlando Health tells Elite Daily meeting with your doctor before any physical exam takes place can definitely help ease your nerves because having an open dialogue gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and address any concerns you might have about what is and isn't appropriate during an exam. It might also help boost your confidence, and improve your ability to speak up if something doesn't feel right during an exam.
2. Figure Out What About The OBGYN Actually Makes You Nervous
I know myself, and there are plenty of times I feel upset or nervous, and when my husband asks me why, I can't put my finger on it. If you don't know why you're feeling anxious toward the gynecologist, how can you realistically expect to make yourself feel better? The answer is, you can't, so you really need to sit down and sort out what you're feelings are, and why you're experiencing them in the first place.
According to Greves, there are two ways to go about doing this: you can either talk to a best friend or family member about your hesitancies, or do some internal discovery by asking yourself what concerns you, and really think about it. Is it the physical exam freaking you out, or having to share intimate details about yourself? Either way, Greves tells Elite Daily, it's totally understandable, but keep in mind "OB-GYNs have undergone medical schooling and training specifically in our female areas, so you are in the best hands."
3. Ask For Gyno Recommendations From Friends And Family
My gynecologist was the man who helped my mom bring me into this world; he's seen my sister, and also helped bring her daughter into this world. I have nothing but rave reviews for him, and would recommend him to anyone who asked, so while I definitely think browsing through online reviews, if they're available, can be super helpful, word of mouth from friends and family is definitely the way to go in my opinion.
Dr. Gunvor Ekman-Ordeberg, OB/GYN and Medical Advisor to DeoDoc Intimate Skincare also tells Elite Daily to be on the lookout for well-recommended gynecologists from loved ones. A pro tip I've come to pick up on though, is to talk to people who are similar to you. Your best friend might love the way her gyno chats about the weather during an example, but if you're the type of person who'd rather keep things strictly professional, you might prefer a physician who doesn't get too personal.
4. Bring A Family Member For Support
I know myself, and when I get nervous or anxious about something, my first line of defense is to talk a lot. I'm big on moral support, and having someone by my side in situations I feel uneasy about, which is why Mama H was going to come with my to the gyno that first time around whether she wanted to or not.
For the record, though, I'm not the only one who finds comfort in social support. Forshee tells Elite Daily having someone like a family member or close friend tag along to these appointments can be helpful because just the presence of a trusted individual is enough to "help alleviate some of our worries." So get a list going of any sisters, cousins, or BFFs who you feel comfortable dragging to an appointment and call whenever necessary. Worst case scenario no one's available, and you'll just have to resort to incessant texting NBD.
5. Listen To Some Tunes Until Your Name Is Called
If for some reason the buddy system isn't working out, and maybe you opted out of a sit down with your doctor prior to the physical exam and you're still a little nervous about going to the gyno, make a zen AF playlist to listen to in the waiting area.
Sometimes a calming song, or the noise of a video can help ease your mind, Greves tells Elite Daily. But, if music or streaming YouTube isn't an option, "reading or just taking some deep breaths," can relaxing yourself while you're waiting to be called in to see the doctor. Identify subtle activities you can busy your mind with so your mind doesn't wander too much.