A Complete Guide to Your First Gynecologist Visit
You’ve probably heard stories about a first gynecologist visit.
Maybe these were told by well-meaning friends or perhaps you saw these stories on the internet.
We want you to know that some of these stories may not be true. We’re here to set the record straight.
It’s perfectly normal to be a bit nervous or embarrassed about your first visit to the gynecologist. That’s okay. But we want you to understand that there’s no reason to feel anxious.
We’ll guide you through your OBGYN annual exam so you’ll know what to expect.
If you’re a parent, you may want to bookmark this blog and show it to your daughter to help you discuss her first appointment.
Your First OBGYN Annual Exam: All You Need to Know About the Gynecologist
When Should You First Visit a Gynecologist?
We recommend that you should have your first gynecologist visit when you’re between the ages of 13 and 17.
If you’re feeling a bit worried about your visit, please let us know. We promise we’ll put you at ease and explain everything that we are doing to help keep you healthy.
What Does A Gynecologist Do On Your First Visit?
Sometimes, on the first visit, we just want to talk to you about your health and what to expect at future appointments. Often, this does not involve a pelvic exam.
But if you have health problems—such as very painful or heavy periods —you may need certain tests.
One thing is for sure: we’ll ask a lot of questions! This is how we get to know you so we can help you. You may find a few of these questions embarrassing or hard to talk about. We’ll discuss your period or whether or not you’re having sex. Being honest is important.
Don’t worry about your parent being in the room with you. We typically ask parents to wait outside for at least part of the time while we’re asking you these personal questions.
We’ll make sure the information remains confidential—but we encourage you to discuss these health issues with your parent.
It will help us if you can tell us the date of your last period and how old you were when you had your first period. We may also ask questions such as:
- Do you have irregular periods?
- How bad are your period cramps?
- Do you have any uncomfortable itching?
- Are you having sex?
- If you are having sex, do you use condoms? Are you using another form of birth control?
It may surprise you to know that gynecologists care about your whole health—not just what’s going on “down there.” If you’re depressed, have difficulty losing weight or have sleep problems, tell us about it!
What Type of Exams Will I Need to Have?
We’ll give you a general physical exam. This means we’ll check your blood pressure, your heart rate, your weight and we may need to take some blood for a blood test. This will help us see if you have diseases such as prediabetes.
If you are having sex, we may give you a test for sexually transmitted infections. We know it may be difficult to talk with us about sex, but that’s a part of our job.
You should never be embarrassed to talk to us. In fact, your sexual health is very important.
Remember that we talk with hundreds of women every year about their sex lives. There’s no reason to be worried. We understand.
We’ll also do an external genital exam. This means we’ll look at the area around your vagina—called your vulva.
We may also perform a bimanual exam. During this exam, we’ll place two lubricated fingers into your vagina. With the other hand, we’ll check your abdomen. This enables us to feel your uterus and ovaries. It’s a way we can check for growths or cysts.
While this may be uncomfortable, it shouldn’t hurt. If you’re worried about it, please talk to us.
We want to answer all your questions. It’s important to us that your first gynecological appointment is a positive experience.
Will I Have a Pap Smear?
Typically, we don’t perform Pap smears unless you’re 21 or older. But if you’ve had some problems—such as heavy periods, pain or itching– we will need to check things out to determine the cause.
What Happens During a Pap Smear?
During a Pap smear, we gently insert something called a speculum into your vagina. This allows us to hold your vaginal walls apart so we can get a good look at your cervix.
Your cervix is between your uterus and vagina.
Then, we use a small brush and tiny spatula to get cells from your cervix. We examine these cells under a microscope.
Does a Pap Smear Hurt?
We admit, it’s not the most comfortable test, but it shouldn’t hurt. If you feel any pain or discomfort, let us know.
How Do I Prepare for My First Gyno Appointment?
It’s really easy to prepare for your first gynecologist appointment. Be sure to schedule your exam in the middle of your cycle. We want to be sure you’re not having your period during the exam.
If you have irregular periods, that’s something you should mention during your appointment.
For two days before your exam, you should NOT:
- Have sex
- Use powders or creams
- Use tampons or put anything into your vagina
It also helps to think about what questions you’d like to ask us.
Do I Need to Shave “Down There?”
Whether or not you shave is totally up to you. It’s your choice and it won’t affect your exam at all. It really doesn’t matter to us how you trim your pubic hair or even if you shave it at all.
Associates in Women’s Healthcare: Always Here for You
We don’t just want to see you at your first exam. We want to see you every year. This is how we take care of you.
We place your needs first. We call this being a partner in your care.
If you ever have any questions, feel free to talk to our doctors. We also want you to have honest conversations with your parents about your health.
Your parents can contact us for an appointment.