There are dental visits that give you terror, and then there are OB-GYN visits that fill you with a different level of dread. The idea of having someone poke around your privates is can be frightening. But it’s a necessary step to keep your reproductive health in check.
To gracefully overcome the fear and nerves that come with your very first OB-GYN visit, keep yourself informed so you can walk into the clinic confident and walk out from it happy. So here are some of the things you can expect on your first visit to the clinic.
Before the Exam
Always schedule your ob-gyn visit in the middle of your menstrual cycle. This means, you have to be well aware of your cycle. It’s also important to avoid having sex, using vaginal douche or basically putting anything into your lady parts at least two days before the exam.
It will also help you a lot to look up the possible questions your ob-gyn will be asking you. He or she will ask you about your cycle, your sexual activity, and your family history. Prepare answers and make sure they are accurate. Your doctor’s office is not the place for shyness or secrecy when it comes to your sexual health and activities. You also have to prepare to strip from the waist down. Shower and put on comfy clothes.
Not all OB-GYNs are the same. Some are kind and motherly, some might look at you differently after an answer to a question they don’t like. But it’s the reality. Perceptions differ and these doctors are free to have their own judgment so long as they take care of you.
A crucial step in your first visit is choosing an ob-gyn you can trust, or at least, someone who knows your family history. Usually, your mother or aunts have had doctors they’ve been seeing for years, so it’s an option you can take. Or if that makes you feel more uncomfortable, get a referral; your family doctor will understand if you will be more comfortable consulting someone else.
Prepare questions you’ve been meaning to ask and don’t hold back. These are professionals who’ve had plenty of patients before. Nothing they see or hear from you will be surprising anymore.
During the Exam
During the big day, it’s normal to feel nervous. Now, the more touchy-feely part will commence. Assuming you did your homework, you’re supposed to know what these exams are, what will happen, and what they are for. You can also ask your doctor to talk you through the entire process. This will not only help you understand what they’re doing and what’s happening down there, but also help you ease into the process and be less nervous.
You will go through a series of exams, namely: the breast exam, the external exam, the internal exam, and a pap smear, if you’re over 21. These exams range from the doctor feeling up your chest to the clinician very gently putting his or her fingers up your private bits.
It sounds invasive, but it is part of the exam. They have to feel the inside of your private part to check if you’re healthy and no unusual bumps are growing inside of you. Other exams may be required, depending on the findings and your interview with your doctor.
Tell your doctor if any of the procedures is causing you pain so they can adjust. Just relax and let the doctor do his/her work. These are experts and have surely done these a hundred times before. Don’t stress out or it might only cause you more discomfort.
After the Exam
Now that the visit is over, you’re going to have to wait for the results. The staff will discuss with you your options for getting the results. They can call you, send a letter, or ask you to personally come in. It will be your choice and you can pick whichever option you’re most comfortable with.
Gynecologic visits should occur at least every year to keep you informed and healthy. You can learn about pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and healthy lifestyle options during your visits. Once you’ve found a doctor or a clinic you trust, the next visit will be more relaxed.
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Isabelle Sierra is a small lady working in a big city. She likes making references to popular culture, cutting her own hair and dreaming about alternate universes.