A Helpful Description of Your First-Ever Gynaecological Exam
Every female at some point in her life has to visit a gynaecologist. This is crucial to stay healthy. But, the debutant gynaecology exam is known to scare almost everyone. Discussing sensitive health topics with a stranger and allowing that individual to examine the vagina can make many women skip their first-ever gynaecology appointment altogether.
It is not necessary for the first appointment to be scary or inconvenient. Qualified gynaecologists associated with a renowned private clinic at Harley Street in Marylebone, London are of the opinion that if you already know what to expect during the appointment, you can stay calm and not feel uneasy during the actual procedure. In the following sections of the blog post they share relevant information to help you get prepared.
First you should know why you have made the appointment
Ideally, girls within the age group of 13 and 15 must have their first ob/gyn appointment followed by an annual wellness visit. You can bring up particular topics to discuss with the doctor during that first-ever appointment, like:
- Birth-control options
- Issues related to your period
- Getting tested for STIs
When you know the reason for being at the appointment, the rest of the things easily fall into their place. The initial visit usually lasts for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Pelvic exam or Pap test is usually not needed for women below 21
The standard procedure involved in the first-ever gynaecology visit for any woman involves a physical exam to check the individual’s weight, height and blood pressure. After this, the gynaecological exam begins. Usually, doctors do not perform a pelvic exam during one’s first gyn/ob visit. However, an exception is made for an individual under the following circumstances:
- The individual is sexually active
- Wants to take STI screening
- Suffers from painful periods, abnormal bleeding or any other health issue
The pelvic exam is recommended for women above 21 followed by a Pap test.
During the Pap test, the doctor collects swab from the cervix to pick up signs of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer occurs rarely and is curable, thanks to the latest evolution in medicine.
The doctor is also expected to perform a breast exam. Young women are at lower risk of developing breast cancer. The doctor’s effort will help them to learn how to examine their own breasts correctly and notice any abnormality or changes.
Procedure involved in pelvic exam
A pelvic exam is broadly categorised in 3 parts, namely:
- The first part is the external genital exam to inspect the vulva – this includes all the parts that can be seen on the external part of your body including the labia, opening of the vulva and the clitoris.
- There are also vaginal and cervical exams in which a speculum is inserted into the vagina to get a better view of the cervix and the vaginal walls.
- While inserting the speculum, the doctor is likely to collect samples for your Pap test and some other STIs using a flat scrapping device or a brush with soft bristles.
The speculum comes in various sizes and if you feel like using a different size one, just ask the gynaecologist to use a smaller or bigger one. The device remains inside the vagina for a minute or two during which the doctor makes all the necessary assessments. Then you will be subjected to a bimanual exam to diagnose your reproductive organs. One of the hands of the doctor will rest on your lower abdomen while one or two gloved and lubricated fingers of the other hand will go into your vagina and feel around the uterus and the ovaries to ensure they are healthy. This procedure too hardly lasts a minute.
Birth control even without pelvic exam
Usually, doctors prescribe birth-control without performing a pelvic exam. They will recommend you different options based on your personal lifestyle-related habits and medical history. If you ask them about birth-control options, they will ask questions on your preferences and sexual behaviour to select the best option for you.
Do not bother about your look
During the first gynaecological exam, every woman is bound to feel helpless and exposed. You should remember that the doctor examining you is not judging you physically or morally in any way or the other. They are just medically evaluating you and that’s all.
Get ready to discuss your sex life and menstrual cycle
During the exam, the doctor will make queries about your sex life. Feel free to mention any abnormal health conditions like heavy bleeding, muscular cramps, pain, mood swings or any other irregularity you go through during your periods. The doctor will also test you for signs of endometriosis, which is a condition that causes heavy periods and pain that prevents you from getting pregnant. As a responsible and health-conscious individual, you must be honest, transparent and open during this overall procedure. You can be rest assured that the doctor won’t judge you on any moral grounds.
In addition to the aspects discussed above, make sure to know in details about your personal as well as family medical history. Much of the doctor’s decision depends on your medical condition and if you underwent any surgeries in the past. Correctly answering those questions may be difficult if you are nervous. Therefore, prepare written notes beforehand and carry that with you during the exam.
If you search online from anywhere in London using strings like “private gynaecologist near me” you are bound to reach Gynaecology Clinic at Harley Street. Experienced gyn/obs experts associated with this patient-centric practice are extremely skilled in handling women who are having their first-ever gynaecology test. Feel free to contact us to book your appointment. The private clinic stays open from 9 AM to 9 PM on weekdays and from 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays.