What You Should Know Before Going to the Gynecologist
Going to the gynecologist, a doctor focused in women’s health,
is a normal part of growing up. You want to be healthy inside and out, so it’s important
to visit the doctor regularly. Most women visit their doctor for a pelvic exam once
a year. But, we get it! You’re nervous! You might be wondering what the doctor is
going to do. What should you know before an exam? Check out our list of dos and
don’ts below to ease your worries and to become fully prepared for your next trip
to the doctor.
with a parent. A pelvic exam can be nerve wracking, and you want someone there for
support. Your mom, or another trusted adult, will stay in the waiting room unless
you want her in the room for the exam. Talk to the doctor about whether you want
your parent in the room the entire time or if you want some privacy with the doctor
to discuss things you may be embarrassed to bring up in front of your parent. But
also know your parent can help answer the doctor’s questions about family health
history and your health history. It’s your appointment, so do what is comfortable
be nervous. This is a natural part of being a girl now that you are a teen. Be calm
and confident. You’re a woman now and you’re smart to keep up with your health!
or bathe on the morning of your appointment. You’ll feel more confident and your
doctor will have an easier time completing your pelvic exam.
douche before an annual exam; it could cause irregular test results. Douching should
never be done to cover up odors, discharge, pain, itching or burning before a pelvic
exam. Your vagina naturally cleans itself, so there’s no need to douche.
down the date your last period started, how long it lasted, and how often you have
them. You should be keeping track of your menstrual cycle. (Check out the
BeingGirl Period Predictor—it's a great tool for charting your period.)
forget to call your doctor’s office if you are on your period the day of your appointment.
The doctor’s office should be contacted to see if you should still come in, depending
on the purpose of the visit. If it was an appointment to become familiar with the
doctor, then being on your period shouldn’t be an issue. However, if the reason
was something more then just getting to know the doctor and asking questions, you
may want to reschedule your appointment for a time when you are not on your period.
questions. A doctor’s visit is a great opportunity to practice talking about your
health. Before you go, make a list of questions to ask. You can ask your questions
before the actual exam, when you're first meeting with the doctor, during the exam
be afraid to ask anything at all. There are no dumb questions when it comes to your
health. You want to be able to ask questions and feel that your doctor is really
listening. With any doctor, you should ask what exams you need that day and why,
what medications you need and why, and what you can expect during your visit. If
you don't feel comfortable asking, or if the doctor isn't answering your questions,
you may want to ask to change doctors.
totally prepared. Annual exams are only once a year. Make the very most of each
appointment. Write things down! You will be nervous and may not remember all the
points you’d like to discuss or questions you’d like to ask. Here’s a checklist
of info and questions you might want to bring to your pelvic exam:
The dates your last period
The length of your periods
and your cycle.
The names of any medications
you're taking. (Write down the name of the medication and the dose, or just put
the bottle in your purse and show the doctor.)
Any problems with your period,
like cramps, and a list of questions for the doctor and any issues you'd like to
Ready for your first pelvic exam? Get tips and advice for your gynecologist visit at BeingGirl.com.