Most women have anxiety about seeing a gynecologist, whether for their annual appointment or specific health concerns. Do not worry! As a board-certified OB-GYN and woman, I want to help you navigate your appointment most comfortably. Here is what your gynecologist wants you to know about your visit.
We don’t care about your grooming habits
I have had numerous women apologize for their appearance and pubic hair grooming the second they hop up on the exam table. The reality is that most OB-GYNs do not even notice. While we may make a note of the health of the outward appearance of your vulva or look for visible lesions on your vaginal walls, but a medical environment we are focused on providing thoughtful medical evaluation instead of judging personal appearance.
We will ask about fertility, but that doesn’t mean we have an opinion about your life choices
This is a difficult, yet important, discussion for both the patient and the gynecologist. Age has a substantial and progressive effect on the ability to become pregnant and the success of fertility treatment. It is our goal to help facilitate a non-judgmental environment in which you have the resources to make an informed choice about your reproductive plans in a safe and supportive environment
If you are concerned about the exam, let us know!
Many women have anxiety about the pelvic exam, and this can be even worse if this is your first visit, or if you have had a traumatic experience in the past. Please know this is normal and your doctor is more than happy to help you navigate the pelvic exam in a way that makes you feel safe. In some cases, a pap test or screening for certain cancers can be deferred until your next appointment. If in the past you know that you need a different style of speculum, or if more lubricant makes you feel more comfortable, don’t be afraid to speak up when the exam begins!
That “weird and embarrassing” concern? We have heard it all before
Open up about your sex life
Your doctor does not care if you have multiple partners or what your gender preference is. We do care that you have thoughtful medical care. This means taking time to talk about your sex life and unprotected sex so that we can appropriately screen for harmful bacteria and sexually transmitted diseases and treat them to avoid a worst-case scenario.
Pay attention to what is going on with your period
Even if you are not trying to become pregnant, your menstrual cycle can provide important information about your overall health as a person. Many women experience changes in their menstrual cycle with age, weight gain, or stress. Other women may notice changes in heavy bleeding. Paying attention to your period and bringing up any changes to your gynecologist at your visit, helps your doctor clue into any important changes in your overall health.
So that is it! What your OB-GYN wants you to know
In my years as a doctor, I have seen more women worry about their visit more than they need to. This is normal! As OB-GYNs, our goal is to help you maximize your sexual and reproductive health and answer your questions to help you live your best life as a person.