How to prepare for your first appointment with the gynecologist?
The first appointment with the gynecologist can be very stressful. What test will he perform? When should you go for the first time? We tell you everything you need to know to approach and live serenely this moment!
Why go to the gynecologist for the first time?
Several reasons may push you to go for the first time to a gynecologist.
To have a genital health check-up
Often, the first consultation for young girls is mainly a moment of exchange between the professional and the patient. It can be for example to make sure that puberty and development are going well, that you have no particular problems, pain, abnormal bleeding etc... It is also a moment where you can ask all the questions you want concerning your body and its functioning, puberty, menstruation, the different means of contraception etc...
It is always interesting to be followed by a health professional, even if you are not obliged to do so if you do not encounter any particular problems.
The doctor may also prescribe a screening test for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
First menstrual period
The first gynecology appointment can be made after the first period for young girls. If you have just had your period, there is no need to see a gynecologist.
Starting a contraceptive treatment
Finally, some women see a gynecologist for the first time when they need to use contraception, often at the beginning of their sexuality. You can ask your gynecologist any questions you may have about the various contraceptive methods available on the market. He or she will be able to advise you and present you with all types of contraception (pill, IUD, implant, etc.), depending on your period and cycle, your age, what you prefer, etc.
Moreover, for this gynecology appointment, you can choose if you prefer to be accompanied or not. A relative can accompany you and usually stays in the waiting room.
What is the right age to make a first appointment with a gynecologist?
The age of the first appointment with the gynecologist is not the same for all women. Some women go for their first appointment when they are 15 years old, while others go when they are 23. There is no ideal time.
However, from the age of 25 on, cervical cancer screening is strongly recommended. Before that, if you don't have any particular problem, there is no real reason to have a gynecological exam. It is up to each woman to decide whether or not she wants to be followed by a gynecologist even if she has no particular problem.
How does the first gynecological appointment work?
The first appointment takes place in several steps. To prepare you as well as possible, we detail below the classic procedure of a gynecological appointment!
Dialogue and exchange with the practitioner
It generally begins with a time of exchange between the practitioner and the patient. This exchange is essential to establish a relationship of trust. The gynecologist will first take what is called ananamnesis, which means that he or she will ask you a series of very general questions about yourself to establish your general health. The questions concern your medical history and that of your family. He will also ask you gynecological questions, about your menstrual cycle and how it works.
This information is of course recorded confidentially and is subject to medical confidentiality.
This exchange is important and you must be sure to answer it as well as possible, because it will help the specialist to prescribe you a particular medication or contraception.
Here are some examples of questions that could be asked:
- The date of your first period if you have already had one
- If your period is regular
- The medical treatments you have already received
- The operations you have already undergone, or if you have any scheduled
And many more!
Examination and auscultation
Next comes the examination and auscultation. First of all: the examination during the gynecological appointment is not systematic. However, the practitioner may find it useful to perform certain examinations in certain cases, for example when an IUD is inserted or if there is a suspicion of pathology.
Before examining you, the practitioner will explain what he or she is going to do and for what purpose.
Then you will lie down with your legs up in the stirrups.
Here is a list (not exhaustive) of the examinations you can have:
- the vaginal touch: this is very common and painless. The practitioner will insert a finger into the vagina and at the same time will feel the lower abdomen with his other hand. This examination is used to check the position of the uterus, the ovaries and the perineum.
- Another common examination: palpation. Palpation is used to check for lumps or abnormal lumps in your breasts and underarms.
- Pap smear: As explained before, Pap smears are only done from the age of 25. It consists of taking cells from the cervix. To perform this examination, the specialist uses a speculum to spread the walls of the vagina and reach the cervix with a cotton swab. Rest assured: this examination is quick and painless.
- Ultrasound of the abdomen: this allows you to see the organs by passing a probe over the patient's abdomen
- transvaginal ultrasound: this exam allows you to see the uterine cavity, the endometrium (the mucous membrane that makes up the uterus and that drains during menstruation), the size of the uterus and its position, and the size of the ovaries.
These tests are important to make sure you are in good shape!
After examining you, the gynecologist will give you a report on your health and present you with different solutions depending on your needs, etc.
Important: In any case, it is not mandatory: feel free to say no, to express your refusal.
How to find your first gynecologist?
Often, the gynecologist we go to see is recommended by our mother, older sister, friend, etc.
It is important to feel confident and secure with your gynecologist. A long-lasting relationship of trust must be established. You are free to change doctors at any time if you wish and feel the need.
If no one advises you to do so, you can also :
- ask your general practitioner which gynecologist he/she recommends
- ask a family planning center
- look on the internet for gynecologists near your home (you can rely on their advice)
It is also possible that your general practitioner performs your gynecological check-up.
To make an appointment, you can go to doctolib, or make an appointment by phone.
You can be accompanied by a relative (mother, sister, friend) for this gynecology appointment.
How often to find to see the gynecologist?
The frequency of a gynecology consultation depends on your age and your history. It is generally recommended that you go every two years. However, you can also go every year or every 6 months. This is especially helpful if you are on birth control. You can also make an appointment if you have had unsafe sex, or for any problem.
The FAQ of the first gynecological appointment
How does the first visit to the gynecologist go?
The first visit is mainly a time for the doctor and the patient to talk. The examination is not systematic and not mandatory. Cervical cancer screening smears are only recommended from the age of 25.
How to dress when going to the gynecologist?
You can dress as you wish, the important thing is to feel comfortable.
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