Having your period doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gynecologist. In fact, it can be a great time to do so. Having your period makes it much easier to check for cysts and lumps, which is why many doctors recommend getting gyno while on your period. It also makes it easier to check for infections, since discharge from the vagina is more noticeable during menstruation. If you prefer going to the gyno on your period but are afraid of the risks or have a surprise appointment coming up, here’s what you should know about going to the gynecologist when you have your period.
Can You Go to Gyno on Your Period?
Let’s face it, menstruation isn’t always convenient. It often comes with a host of other inconveniences too, like cramps and excess pain. In fact, getting your gyno checkup while on your period is one of the trickiest things about being a woman. However, if you keep reading, you will learn if it’s possible and how to go about it. It definitely doesn’t sound easy – but chances are high that your gynecologist has seen their fair share of patients on their period who have gone for a gyno checkup. Getting your gyno appointment done when you’re on your period may feel very uncomfortable — especially when you have to strip down and have sensitive internal organs prodded with inky fingers and speculums. But there are ways to make this process less painful and more bearable.
Can You Go to Gyno on Your Period?
Yes, you can go to gyno on your period. But it might be a bit difficult because you won’t be able to use your usual birth control method. Also, the doctor will have to insert an instrument inside you, which could be painful because of the extra blood flow during that time of the month. So you might have to get an ultrasound instead, or wait until your next period is over. You can discuss the best options with your doctor to see what is most suitable for you. If you have a regular, normal gyno checkup, then you can expect a few (very) uncomfortable minutes of your life. Your doctor will examine your cervix, perform a Pap smear to check for certain types of infection and discuss your sexual health.
What Does a Gyno Checkup Involve?
A gyno checkup usually involves a pelvic exam and an internal examination of your uterus and ovaries. Depending on your age, whether or not you’ve given birth, and certain other risk factors, you might need a Pap smear (vaginal swab) as well, to check for any possible signs of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. In most gynecological practices, you can use a blood test (or a urine sample) as an alternative to a Pap smear – which might make the examination a little less uncomfortable. There are also newer methods of screening for cervical and uterine abnormalities that don’t require an internal examination. For example, a high-risk HPV DNA test can detect the presence of HPV DNA in cervical cells, which is a reliable indicator that those cells are abnormal.
Why Is Going to Gyno on Your Period Difficult?
The main problem when going for a gyno appointment on your period is that it will be more difficult for you to use protection such as condoms or a diaphragm. You will also have lower levels of protection against STIs because menstrual blood acts as a barrier and can make STI testing negative even if you have an infection. You may need to wait to get tested after your period is over or go for a rapid test at your doctor’s. Another issue is that many doctors are uncomfortable with performing an internal examination when you’re on your period. They are also more likely to prescribe hormonal birth control pills and other drugs that can cause bleeding and spotting between periods.
Tips to Make Going to Gyno on Your Period Easier
If the thought of going to your gyno’s office while on your period makes you cringe (don’t worry, we get it), you could always schedule your appointment when you have your next period. This way, you can use the same barrier methods of protection that you normally use, and you won’t have to worry about your doctor giving you an internal exam. If you can’t wait until your next period, try to be as prepared as possible. To make the experience as gentle and less painful as possible, try to avoid using tampons and use sanitary pads or menstrual cups instead. You can also wear a pad alongside a panty liner or a thong to catch the blood and make the pad stay in place better. Try to relax as much as you can by taking deep breaths and closing your eyes. Focus on something else, such as music or an audiobook, to take your mind off the appointment.
If you can, try to avoid getting your gyno checkup while on your period. It can be more painful and difficult to deal with, and it can make the experience even more uncomfortable than it usually is. However, if you don’t have a choice, try to come prepared for it. Wear pads instead of tampons, don’t wear underwear with lots of fabric, and try to relax and distract your mind. And most importantly, remember that it will be over soon!