Gynecologists help women with their health care needs through appointments, tests, and treatments. They can diagnose medical conditions that affect their sexual health and ensure that they do not have certain types of cancers, including breast and cervical cancer. Whether you have your first visit scheduled or you’ve seen a doctor before, you can learn what to do before a gynecologist visit and how to prepare.
Maybe you’ve chosen to put off your first gynecological appointment, or perhaps you’re helping your daughter get ready now that she is going through puberty or has become sexually active. Women preparing for a gynecologist visit for the first time will likely prepare differently than those who have existing relationships with their doctors. New patients should fill out their paperwork before the GYN exam and write down any questions that they want to ask the doctor.
Gynecologists recommend that visitors avoid a few things for two days before the appointment, including:
- Using any type of douche
- Relying on tampons and other things inserted into the vagina
- Having sexual intercourse
Doctors also recommend that women avoid using harsh cleaners and other products on the morning of the visit.
As a first-time patient, you can expect a nurse to take your vital signs and get both a blood and urine sample. If you worry that you cannot give a urine sample, try drinking a few glasses of water before your appointment. You’ll then change into a gown and wait for the doctor.
During the gynecology appointment, the doctor will wear a glove and lubricate their fingers before inserting one or more fingers into your vagina. Keeping one hand on your stomach during this exam helps the gynecologist identify any irregularities or abnormalities. You will also receive a visual exam and a speculum exam. At the end of the appointment, the doctor will take a few minutes to address your questions and concerns before letting you get dressed.
If you’re an existing patient, you likely already know what to expect during your exam. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at how to prepare.
You may want to make sure that you schedule the GYN exam for the right time. Try to avoid scheduling an appointment around the time that you’re on your period. If you happen to have your period at the time of the exam do not cancel. Often accommodations can be made and the exam completed. While menstruation is natural, it can affect some of the tests that the doctor needs to perform, including a pap smear and blood tests. If you have a heavy period or suffer symptoms while on your period that you want to talk about, the doctor may recommend that you schedule an appointment during your period.
For All Patients
When you visit a new doctor, look at some tips on what to do before a gynecologist visit to ensure that you’re ready for the appointment. Always keep track of your menstruation and know the dates of your last period. This is the first question that the doctor will ask. You may want to use an app on your phone or write down the dates, especially if you have an irregular period. It’s also important to write down any unusual symptoms that you experienced.
Having your medical file is also important when you change doctors or visit a new gynecologist. You do not need to bring your medical records with you, though you have this option. Most doctors let you request a file transfer. The office will send a complete medical file to your new doctor. This gives the gynecologist time to go over it before your appointment.
No woman should ever feel embarrassed about a gynecology appointment. Most young women have their first appointments during the early stages of puberty when they are 13 to 15 years of age. Both younger women and older women who experience anxiety before and during doctors’ visits should consider taking steps to relax before their appointments. You can try listening to music or bringing a book with you. This gives you time to read and relax before your exam. Most doctors allow patients to bring loved ones with them. Though they must stay in the waiting room during the exam, they can provide some support.
The gynecologist will ask if you are sexually active and how many sexual partners you’ve had. Any woman who is sexually active, especially with a new partner, multiple partners, or partner who has been diagnosed with an STD, should have an STD test. This tests for both sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Though the symptoms range based on the type of STD/STI, they might include:
- Painful and/or itchy bumps on the genitals
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Discharge with a strange smell
- Pain during intercourse
- Heavy or otherwise unusual bleeding
Having an STD/STI panel is important because some of these diseases present without any symptoms in women. Your doctor can test for all conditions and let you know the results within a few days or less.
Before having a sexual relationship with a new partner, you may consider having an STD test. If you’re younger than 25, you might even want to think about being tested yearly. Always be open with your doctor, and don’t hesitate to ask whether you need to be tested.
Choose the Right Doctor
Choosing the right doctor can help you relax and prevent you from worrying about your upcoming appointment with a gynecologist. Women’s Healthcare of Boca Raton has a caring team that’s ready to help women of all ages. You can schedule an appointment Monday through Friday and bring support with you. Call today to schedule your appointment for an STD/STI test, general wellness check, or for your first exam.