Going to the gynecologist for the first time can be scary – especially if you don’t know what to expect. The general consensus among doctors is that a first visit should be scheduled either when a young woman becomes sexually active or when she turns 21, whichever comes first. While some women would rather skip a trip to the gynecologist, it is an important part of health care for all women. Here are answers to some of your most pressing questions. We hope they help to diminish your fears and educate you about everything that will take place at your first gynecological exam.
What exams will the doctor be conducting?
Along with routine questions about your medical history, your doctor will conduct a pelvic exam and a Pap smear. If you would like to test for sexually transmitted infections (STI), you can ask for a STI screening test, which is not included in the Pap smear. The pelvic examination will include both an external and an internal exam. Your doctor will examine your vulva, clitoris, and vaginal opening. After that, she will look inside your vagina using a speculum, an instrument used to hold your vaginal walls apart. This is the most uncomfortable part, but as long as you relax it will get easier.
During the Pap smear, your doctor will collect a sample of cells from your cervix using a swab, as well as examine your vaginal walls for lesions, inflammation, or unusual discharge. The collected cervical cells are then sent to a lab to check for abnormal cell growth and to screen for cervical cancer. It is important to note that the Pap smear does not test for pregnancy, STIs, vaginal infections, or other types of gynecological problems.
Can I have someone in the room with me?
Yes, if you feel more comfortable with a parent or friend in the room, most doctors will find that acceptable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your body and you want to know what is happening throughout the exam. This is also an appropriate time to ask your gynecologist any questions you may have about contraception.
Will I be sore after?
If this is your first Pap smear, it is normal to be a little sore after the exam. You may even have a small amount of blood spotting over the next day or so.
How often will I have to go back?
Once you become sexually active, which is not limited to vaginal intercourse and may include oral sex, anal sex, or other intimate acts, it is important to have a full gynecological exam every year.
To schedule your gynecological exam with Contemporary Women’s Care, please book an appointment online or call (407) 478-6249 today.