Gyno Checkup – Being a woman comes with a series of checkups, tests and appointments throughout our lifetimes. This can prove to be a bit overwhelming if you’ve just begun your gyno journey or you’re getting ready to go back to the doctor again.
Unfortunately, some women find it hard to get excited about their upcoming gyno appointment because they aren’t fond of the idea of being examined by another person and having your private parts prodded with strange instruments.
However, there are lots of women who love their gyno visits because they know that these routine procedures are paramount for staying healthy and preventing any diseases from developing. Here’s what you should expect during your gyno appointment.
What To Expect During Your Gyno Checkup
If you’ve recently had sex with a new partner, gotten a new partner, or are just generally worried about the state of your lady bits, it might be time to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. A gyno checkup is an important part of maintaining healthy female genitalia and can help catch issues such as STIs and other problems before they become something more serious. But what does one of these checkups involve exactly? Are you going to be sitting there in a room full of women in similar situations? Do you have to take your pants off? How much should you expect to pay for this experience? Here’s what you need to know about getting checked up by a gynecologist.
What is a gyno checkup?
A gyno checkup is a type of physical exam where your doctor will inspect your reproductive organs for signs of abnormalities and/or STIs. If you have a vagina, you’ll have to have a Pap smear and an HPV test done during the visit. These two tests will help your doctor detect early signs of HPV or other STIs that don’t have visible symptoms, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, as well as things like yeast infections and cervical dysplasia. Gyno checkups are recommended for women who are sexually active. Regular Pap smears can help detect issues with your cervix and your HPV test can help screen out any potential STIs that you may have contracted. Additionally, your doctor will probably perform a pelvic exam to make sure everything is healthy down there. You should also expect a consultation about your risk for sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, and other gynecological problems that may be unique to you.
Why get a gyno checkup?
As we just discussed, a gynecologist can check for STIs, cervical dysplasia and other health issues specific to your lady bits. In particular, if you are sexually active, it is important that you schedule regular gynecological examinations so you can have any issues caught before they become something more serious. Gyno checkups can also be helpful for women who are not sexually active but are at a higher risk of certain conditions, like ovarian and uterine cysts, endometriosis, and fibroids. Additionally, they can help screen out potential problems with pregnancy and menstruation in women who are or may want to become pregnant.
How do you book a gyno checkup?
A lot of doctors will have you make an appointment for your gyno visit as soon as you start having sex, or maybe even before. You likely have to go in every one to three years depending on your age and risk factors. If you are sexually active, you should try to make an appointment with your doctor at least once a year. If you have had any STIs, have been diagnosed with an STI, or are at a high risk for one, you should go more often. If you are worried about seeing your normal doctor for a gyno appointment, you can try to find a gynecologist who does online or telemedicine appointments. This can make the whole process easier and less stressful.
What does the exam include?
During the exam, your doctor will likely perform a pelvic exam. This will involve inserting one or two fingers into your vagina while they press on your abdomen. This can be uncomfortable, but it typically only lasts a few seconds. It is important that you keep your legs closed during this exam as your doctor will typically be wearing gloves. Your doctor will also likely perform a Pap smear, which is a sample of cells taken from your cervix. They may also take samples of fluid from your vagina and rectum if you have symptoms of an infection or if you are at high risk for STIs. Your doctor may also recommend a lab test for herpes if you have had symptoms or have had multiple partners. Additionally, your doctor may recommend that you get tested for HIV at your annual exam if you are at a high risk of contracting it.
There are a few different STIs that your doctor may screen you for during your gyno visit. The most common include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and syphilis. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both bacterial infections that can be treated with antibiotics. These two infections are very common and often go undetected since they don’t have signs or symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with herpes, you will likely have been tested for it before, but your doctor will want to test you again just to make sure that you are still clean. If you have had multiple partners, have engaged in risky sexual behavior, or have had a symptoms of syphilis, your doctor will likely want to test you for that as well.
Vaginal and vulva exam
Your doctor will likely perform a visual exam of your vulva and vaginal region during your exam. They are looking for signs of STIs, yeast infections, and other conditions, as well as noting any abnormalities that could lead to a problem in the future. If your doctor does find something abnormal, they will likely take a biopsy and send it to a lab to see what it is and if you need treatment. They will likely let you know how you can prevent it in the future as well. If your doctor finds a large amount of discharge in your vagina, they may want to test it to see if it’s a yeast infection. This is usually caused by an overgrowth of candida, a type of yeast, which can be treated with antibiotics.
Your doctor will likely perform a visual and manual exam of your rectum to ensure that it is not inflamed or infected. Your doctor will probably want to test you for gonorrhea and chlamydia if you have had multiple partners or have been diagnosed with an STI in the past.
Your gyno visit is an important part of maintaining good female health and can help catch serious issues before they become problematic. While it may seem like a strange concept, the best way to take control of your sexual health is to make time for regular gyno visits.