Going to the gynecologist can seem pretty scary–and pretty confusing. Why and when should you start seeing a gynecologist?
That depends, but there are basic guidelines. If you are or are thinking about becoming sexually active, you need to see a gynecologist. Your gyno can help you with your birth control options and screen you for STDs, that way you and your partner can both enjoy sex more knowing that you’re safe.
Even if you’re not sexually active nor even thinking about having sex, it’s good to start going to the gynecologist by the time you turn 21, because with or without sexual activity, you still want to make sure everything is in tip-top shape down there. Your gynecologist can help you with issues aside from pregnancy prevention and STD treatment and screenings–they can also help you remedy your menstrual cramps, regulate your periods, and check for hormonal issues you may not even know you have.
And dude, don’t be scared of going to the gyno! It’s a lot less scary than being pregnant or not knowing if that lump or bump is harmless or serious. They’re there to help you, and depending on where you live, your gynecologist may be able to keep your info completely confidential–even from your parents. You owe it to yourself and your potential partners to be healthy.
So once you start seeing your gynecologist, how often should you go? You should see your gynecologist once a year for a routine exam, which should be covered by your insurance (and if it isn’t, it probably will be soon). Even if you feel fine and aren’t sexually active, your gynecologist may be able to find things you didn’t know about or help you prevent issues you may have later–and they can’t help you if you don’t go!
How often do you go to the gynecologist? Have you been to a gynecologist before? When did you first start seeing your gynecologist? Tell us in the comments!