If you’re heading to the gyno for the first time, you’re probably experiencing a lot of emotions. Whether you’re scared, nervous, or even a little bit excited, trust me, plenty of women have been there before you.
There are a few things you should know before heading to the gyno.
1. Stay Calm
First and foremost, there’s nothing to worry about! Gynecologists are highly trained doctors, and you should treat this appointment like you would any other check-up. Just like you have an ophthalmologist for your eyes and a dentist for your teeth, your lady parts need a doctor too.
2. Find a Gyno You’re Comfortable With
Next, make sure you’re comfortable with your gyno. It may be helpful for you to go to the same gynecologist as your mom or a friend so you know what to expect. If you want to find a gyno on your own, you should try to find someone recommended by a doctor. If you feel generally comfortable with the person, that’s a good sign! If they seem open and friendly, you should be able to form a good relationship with them. If the person puts you on edge or leaves you feeling skeptical, that should be a red flag.
3. Be Truthful with Your Gyno
Whether you’re going to the gyno to learn more about birth control options or simply for a check-up, the general procedures are the same. Your gynecologist will likely begin by asking you a few simple questions about you, your sex life, and why you’re there. It’s important to know the date of your last period (try using an app to keep track!) because they will likely ask you this.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should be truthful. Gynecologists are not there to judge you; they’re there to help you! If you answer questions dishonestly, they won’t be able to help you to the best of their ability. There are nondisclosure policies that prevent your doctors from sharing certain information with your parents, so don’t worry about that.
4. Relax and Let the Gyno Work
Once the questioning is done, they’ll ask you to undress and put on the paper gown provided. Don’t be freaked out by the stirrups; they’re only there to rest your legs on. Once your gyno returns, he or she will likely do a normal physical exam, an external exam of your vagina, and a breast exam. If you’re having issues with your period or experiencing something abnormal, your gyno will want to do a complete pelvic exam.
This is often where people get nervous; but there’s no reason to be! Your gyno will insert a tong-like gadget into your vagina to get a better look. Just relax. Take deep breaths and don’t tighten yourself up. If you’re 21 or older or have been sexually active for about three years, your gyno will likely do a pap smear during the pelvic exam. This only takes about three to five minutes, so you have nothing to worry about.
The gyno will then put on a glove and cover it with lube-like jelly to complete the internal exam. They’ll put one or two fingers into your vagina and press on your lower stomach from the outside to make sure your uterus is okay and that you don’t experience pain.
5. Ask Any Questions You Have
Now’s question time, so ask away.
For example, if you’re there to get birth control, your gyno will then explain the pros and cons of the different methods and what they think will work best for you. If you don’t like the first method you try—don’t worry. Finding a birth control you love is all about trial and error.
It’s as simple as that! Don’t stress out, be sure to find a gyno you’re comfortable with, and tell the truth. Schedule your appointment for a time you know you won’t have your period so that doesn’t interfere with the exam. Even if you’re nervous, remember: You’re on your way to a healthier, happier, and safer life.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.