Going to the Gynecologist

One of the best steps that you can take for maintaining your sexual and reproductive health is to begin making regular visits to the gynecologist. Continue reading and to learn about navigating the reproductive health system, and the process for standard pelvic exam and/or pap smear.

When Should You First Visit a Gynecologist?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you should have your first gynecologist visit when you’re between the ages of 13 and 17.

Why Should You Visit a Gynecologist?

  1. To learn about prevention measures for any reproductive health issues or sexually transmitted infections as well as cervical cancer.
  2. To receive treatment for issues like irregular menstrual cycles, vaginal pain or discomfort or other reproductive health issues.

Going to the Gynecologist for the First Time

When you arrive at the gynecologist, you will likely go through one or all of these short exams.

  • The Bimanual Exam: Your provider will use gloved and lubricated fingers into your vagina while gently pressing on your lower abdomen with their other hand. This is a way to check your uterus and ovaries.

What happens during a Pap Smear exam?

When to get a Pap Smear?

  • You should start getting Pap tests at age 21. If your Pap test result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test.
  • If your test shows that something might not be normal, your doctor will contact you and figure out how best to follow up. There are many reasons why test results might not be normal. It usually does not mean you have cancer.

What else can you learn about during your visit to the gynecologist?

  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Hormonal Issues
  • STI screening
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
  • Vaginal Discharge, Vaginal itching, redness, or soreness
  • Questions about bacterial or yeast infections

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