What To Expect At The Appointment
When you finally get out of the waiting room, there are a few things you can expect to happen. We’ve listed them so that you’re fully prepared:
1. You’ll be asked to pee into a cup. They’ll test your urine to see if you’re pregnant (even if you say you’re a virgin) and for other infections that could show up there. And if you get a little pee on your hand while trying to aim for the always-too-tiny cup? We promise they’ll have nice soap!
2. You’re going to have to strip down. Yup—as in, totally nakie. Again, don’t freak out! You’ll be covered under a gown and no one is going to stare at your body and judge you. They see tons of people every day. You’re just another one!
3. Your doctor is going to start by asking you lots of questions. And by that, we mean he/she’s going to be asking the kinds of things even your BFF doesn’t know. No matter what he/she asks, it’s important to be honest. Lying is only going to mean you might not get the help you need—and you might not even know you need help until they’ve got the full 411.
4. There will be a breast exam. This is a way for your doctor to make sure you don’t have any lumps (which could mean breast cancer) and to get a “baseline” of what your breasts feel like when they’re healthy. That will help them detect any abnormalities later if something does go wrong. Your doctor is going to ask you to lift your arms so they can feel your breasts— it’s quick and painless, we swear.
5. Next, your doctor is going to do a pelvic exam. It might feel a little weird having a stranger poke around down there, but just relax. Don’t be worried about what they’re going to see – a gynecologist sees hundreds of different vaginas every year. We promise they’re never going to think you’re weird.
During the pelvic exam, your doctor will check your vulva and the opening of your vagina, then he/she will insert their fingers into your vagina to check for cysts. They’ll also insert a speculum in there – this spreads apart the vaginal walls. It looks scary, but it’s not going to be super painful. You’ll probably just feel a little discomfort. And although it seems impossible to relax when that scary metal thing is going into you, it’s so much less uncomfortable when you can relax. So just . . . try to think of something awesome. Like puppies.
6. You’ll probably also get a Pap smear. Pap smears are the test they do to check for certain STDs, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, and cancerous cells. Your doctor will use a small brush or a wooden spatula to collect a sample of cervical cells. We won’t lie – a pap test is a little uncomfortable (you’ll feel pressure), but it’s definitely not painful. It’s also really fast and it’s easier to get done if you’re relaxed.
7. It’s possible that your doctor will want to do a rectal exam. This is another test that is kind of uncomfortable, but not painful. You’ll either lie on your side, or squat, and your doctor will exam the area for any irritation, then stick their finger inside very quickly.
8. Although the Pap checks for some STDs, it’s not complete and leaves out a few biggies, like HIV. If you want a full STD test done (which is a good idea for everyone who’s sexually active), then you have to ask. You’ll have to get blood work done, and that could take a few weeks to get back.
9. If you want to go on birth control, now is the time to ask. Your doctor will set you up with prescription and explain all of your options.
Once your visit is over, ask yourself a few questions. Were you totally comfortable with that doctor? If not, find another one for next time. Did you ask everything you wanted to ask? If you forgot some stuff, you can call the office and ask to speak to your doctor.
See, that wasn’t that big of a deal, right? And trust us… it only gets easier. Soon, you’ll be totally used to it, and going to the gyno is going to be just like going to any other doctor.