Going to the gynecologist is essential as a woman, but going your first time can be intimidating, especially as a young woman. These are 5 things that I wish I knew before going to my first gynecology appointment.
1. It’s ok to be nervous!
The idea of going to the gynecologist – especially for the first time! – makes many women nervous! It is a very personal and intimate experience to talk about your body and sex life with someone you just met, but they are there to help. Most of the time during a first visit, you just talk. You do not need to get a Pelvic Exam if you are under 21, so make your first trip before then. You don’t need to have a specific reason to go, so go to build an open and honest relationship with your gynecologist – it will make that first pelvic exam much easier.
2. Tell the truth!
Your gynecologist is not there to judge you (believe me, they have seen it ALL). Be open and honest about any and all questions that may even seem irrelevant. Just like they are going to have questions for you, ask questions if you have them as well. No question is a dumb question, even if it seems like it.
Your doctor wants you to express any thoughts, feelings, and concerns that you may have to create an open and trustworthy line of communication.
3. Bring someone if you want!
If you feel comfortable bringing another person with you, whether it be in the room during the examination, or simply there for moral support, do! The main goal of your doctor is to provide the best care and make you as comfortable as possible. (Because of COVID-19, you may want to call your gynecologist before your appointment to make sure it is okay to bring someone with you due to social distancing protocols.)
4. Your gyno doesn’t care about what it looks like down there!
Having genital hygiene is very important, but many women have different preferences for how they want their genital region to look – your doctors have seen everything. It is not necessary to shave or wax or to do anything “for” your gynecologist. It may be about aesthetics for you, it’s about health for your doctor.
5. Don’t skip your appointment if you have your period!
Most women think that just because they have their period, that means that they must cancel their appointment. That is far from the truth. If there is an issue going on that you have been waiting to get help for, your period isn’t going to affect it all that much. In fact, if you’re getting an IUD inserted, it is better to be on your period. Yes, pap smears are better to have done when you’re not on your period, but doctors will get around it as best they can. When in doubt, just ask!
Sanaah Aslam, Intern
Sanaah Aslam is a marketing and research intern at HerMD. She is currently a freshman at Syracuse University studying Human and Family Development. She has written blogs, hosted an episode of the HerVoice podcast, and helped with our website redesign as well as several research projects.