Your first visit to a gynaecologist can be daunting, especially when you know you’ll be discussing personal information and having your reproductive organs examined. Don’t worry. Once you know what to expect, you’ll feel much better.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a woman’s first visit to a gynae should be between the ages of 13 years and 15 years old. In this article, we will explain exactly what you can expect at your first appointment.
Preparing for the gynae appointment
Once you have scheduled an appointment, there are a few things you should know and do to prepare for the visit.
- Don’t be embarrassed about pubic hair. There is no need for shaving or grooming. Actually, it’s better if you don’t.
- Blood can make a difference when the doctor assesses your reproductive health, so make sure you schedule your appointment when you aren’t on your period.
- Don’t have sex or use a tampon up to two days before your appointment.
- Ensure that you have a comprehensive knowledge of your medical, sexual and menstrual history.
- Ask your family members if there are any medical conditions or disorders that run in the family because they may have an impact on your sexual and reproductive health.
The four parts of a gynaecological appointment
Consultation and external exam
This part of the appointment will be a discussion. The gynaecologist will talk through your medical history. After the chat, you’ll be asked to lie on an examination table and put your feet in stirrups – this allows the doctor to inspect the exterior of your vagina. He/she will look for any abnormalities such as cuts or warts. Please be completely honest if he/she asks any questions. The doctor is required by law to keep all of your information private.
The gynaecologist will then use an instrument called a speculum to examine your cervix. The speculum holds your vagina open, and so it can be a bit uncomfortable, but the exam only takes about a minute. If you’re sexually active or 21 and older, he/she will also perform a pap smear.
The exam is conducted to examine your vagina for abnormalities such as cysts. The gynaecologist inserts two gloved fingers inside your vagina, feel for any irregularities and will press down on your stomach with his/her other hand. It shouldn’t be painful and will last for a minute or less.
After your gynae appointment
You will more than likely receive a call from your gynae approximately one to two weeks after your visit. He/she will discuss the results from any test that were performed.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Marie Stopes is the global leader of women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare. Practising safe sex by using contraceptives that suit you and getting tested for STIs and HIV will ensure that your gynaecological visits are quick and easy.
Please make an appointment at one of our conveniently-located women’s wellness clinics. Our staff and medical professionals will gladly answer any questions you may have about your sexual health.