You know, us girls are really lucky when it comes to reproductive health. Not only can we expect to have monthly surprises of PMS, periods and menstrual cramps, we also have the honor of going through the pain of childbirth. To add to that list is one of the greatest perks about being a girl — visiting the gynecologist every six months. Yup, fun times! So, it’s definitely not the most comfortable or exciting experience, but it’s still important that you see a gynecologist twice a year to make sure that everything “down there” is healthy and working fine.
Just like you see your doctor for a regular checkup to get blood work, you visit your gynecologist for a pelvic exam. If you’re between the ages of 15-20, you’re at the right age to start visiting a gynecologist. Unlike other doctors who specialize in internal medicine or primary care, a gynecologist can do a pelvic exam, also known as a pap smear, test for STDs and HIV/AIDS, prescribe birth control and in the future, and help you plan for pregnancy.
The first step in seeing a gynecologist is to find a doctor you trust. What you discuss with your gynecologist is often very personal, so you need to find someone who you can be open with and can ask for advice. If you’re going for a regular check-up, your gynecologist will ask about your period, if you’re in a sexual relationship and if you’re on birth control or considering it. Then, your gynecologist will perform a pap smear, which involves inserting a speculum into your vagina, so that he or she can check the health of your reproductive organs. If you’re worried about the pap smear, my best tip is to stay calm and relax as much as possible. During my first pap smear, I was so nervous that it was painful. But if you relax your legs, the faster your doctor can finish the exam.
To learn more about what to expect when visiting the gynecologist, check out gURL.com’s guide, “Going to the Gyno.”
Image from Glamour.com
Last modified: November 19, 2009