The idea of going to a Gynecologist is a nerve-wrecking and uncomfortable visit for most women, especially if it’s your first time. The medical assistants, nurses and staff will explain what they are doing and the various procedures that need to be completed. Always ask questions until your comfortable and have the answers that are needed. Females encounter many issues that require them to have annual checkups. Cysts, breast health, cervical issues, female incontinence, sexual issues, and birth control are only a few of the major concerns when receiving your checkup.
Even with the importance of these visits being stressed, there are still women who are so nervous or fearful that they opt out of their checkups!
What happens at an exam?
Generally, there are three different exams that occur at your gynecological visit: a pelvic exam, a breast exam, and a “pap smear” exam. Your doctor will examine the inside of your pelvis and check for lumps, cists, or anything out of the ordinary, or that causes you pain. Although this may seem like an awkward situation to be in, it’s important to remember that it is for your health and well-being. A breast exam is important in searching for lumps, discolorations, or strange moles. A pap test (or “pap smear”) is a test that is done to check the cells on the inside of the cervix. This may be the most uncomfortable test for a woman, but it’s also one of the most important. This test allows doctors to check for cancers, STDs, or any abnormal changes in the cervix cells that may cause issues. Once again, relax, this is about taking care of yourself and staying healthy.
Why is it so important to see a Gynecologist yearly?
There are many medical issues that women face that can be treated and cured if caught early on. Some of these conditions may not even show signs of symptoms. When cervical or breast cancer is found early on via an annual visit, they are much more successful in treatment. Minor medical conditions such as rashes, benign cysts, bladder issues such as female incontinence, or overly heavy menstrual cycles can be found, diagnosed, and treated. Having your annual checkup guarantees a peace of mind that your body is healthy, and allows you time to discuss or find changes that may have occurred since your last visit. This is also the time to discuss birth control methods, sexual health, and any strange pains you may have. It’s important to keep small issues from turning into larger ones.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
This is your check up, and it’s your time to speak up and address any concerns that you are experiencing with your body. Being shy in a doctor’s office is not a good idea. By withholding important information or symptoms from your doctor, you could potentially put yourself at risk for a much greater health issue. Be sure to discuss your sexual activity and health, the consistency (or inconsistency) of your menstrual cycle, and strange lumps or pains you may have, tenderness, fatigue, or fertility concerns. Also, if this is your first visit (or first in a long time), do not be afraid to ask your doctor how the exam is going to be performed. Your health care specialist is there to put your mind at ease, and make your health their main priority. Many doctors will go through the steps of the procedure with you before they begin anything. Don’t be afraid to ask what the instruments are for, how an exam works, or long until you can get out of there! Your doctor is a professional, and has heard many of these questions and concerns before, so you are not alone.
Going to your Gynecologist annually ensures that you catch any possible issue early on, learn methods to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle, and know that your body is healthy. Don’t be afraid to look at those feet stirrups, take a deep breath, and hop up on the table.
By Jordan Mallory, a mother of two who has regular OBGYN checkups to ensure her own health for her family.