What to expect during a visit to the gynecologist

There is nothing to fear here.

It’s no surprise if I start typing “What to expect…” into Google, one of the top results is “from a visit to the gynecologist”. (“…when you wait” is, of course, the search engine’s preferred response). Does it say more about my search history or society in general? Who knows but it’s a hot topic.

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To be honest, I’ve only been there a few times in my life and every experience was barely memorable. All the North American podcasts I listen to discuss their “annual medical check-up”, which always involves an extra gynecological check-up, it seems. Did I miss these important annual meetings? And what can I expect? I talked to Doctor Latika Cillya Melbourne-based obstetrician and gynecologist, for the answers.

How often should you consult the gynecologist?

“There’s no real fixed length of time to see one,” Dr. Cilly tells me. (My podcast fears are instantly alleviated.) Instead, it depends on whether you’re having trouble. “If you’re not getting answers, if you’re in pain and you’ve tried multiple routes, and you think you need to see a specialist, then you need to see a specialist.”

If you have a strong family history of gynecological cancers (ovarian, uterine, cervical, vulvar, or vaginal), however, Dr. Cilly suggests a checkup every two to three years. “Otherwise, overall, if you’re fit and healthy, most things can usually be done at your GP level.”

What are the common reasons to consult a gynecologist?

The most common reasons, she tells me, are related to abnormal menstrual bleeding. “Usually we find that we as women are, obviously, tough creatures who get along and put up with struggles when we may be iron deficient or anemic.

“We still don’t attribute it to our periods, [the] amount of blood we lose,” according to Dr. Cilly. A key indicator of excessive blood loss is the passage of large clots. “Your body is trying to stop you from losing so much blood,” she explains. These types of symptoms may be reasons to see a specialist.

Other issues include abnormal cervical screening tests (the updated term for Pap smear), postpartum prolapse, and cellular fertility options.

What can you expect on your first visit?

“Don’t worry,” said Dr. Cilly. “It’s like visiting any other doctor.” In his calming presence, the idea of ​​a visit is not so bad. As she says, “It’s a part of your body [and] it is a system that also needs to be maintained like any other part of your body. That’s all you do. You see a doctor for a problem.

Before making an appointment, Dr Cilly reminds me that a referral from a GP is needed. It is also useful to have prior health information, including any inquiries that have been made with your GP (or at least who and where your GP is). Be aware of your medical history and that of your family to help you understand better.

Dr. Cilly says that most gynecologists will try to put you at ease before going into details, talking about life and pets and nicer things. Digging deeper, expect to answer questions such as, when did you last have your pap smear? It was good ? What is your sexual frequency? Have you had any sexually transmitted diseases in the past? What are your rules doing? How often do you have them and how intense are they?

“A gynecological check-up does not have to be a painful affair”, she assures. If an internal exam is needed, we should not leave the appointment feeling traumatized or in excessive pain. “Yes, it’s uncomfortable. It never gets comfortable. It’s not a pleasant exam to take. But it’s not painful and it shouldn’t be. If so, then it’s badly done.

Dispelling Myths

Do you need to be completely hairless and shave before your appointment? “You really don’t have to…it’s not something that’s a prerequisite for your checkup with a gynecologist.”

Another frequently asked question to Dr. Cilly is “What if you have your period?” Can you really take an exam at this time? “. “This is probably the best time to examine a patient because most pathologies are quite obvious,” she says. Endometriosis, in particular, is more detectable during your period, so don’t hesitate. “We do this all the time. And we don’t mind.

Something very clear in our conversation is that nothing bothers a good gynecologist. They’ve seen it all before. There’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about making an appointment either.

Before ending the conversation, Dr. Cilly launches a reminder on the changes to cervical screening test – they are every five years if you are sexually active or are 25 or older. “Australia is one of the countries moving towards the eradication of cervical cancer. So, if we follow the program, we will not see cervical cancer anytime soon. It’s as simple as visiting your GP (and not that scary, really).

Luckily, I’m exempt from making an annual appointment, but when the time comes, I know there’s nothing to worry about. Find a gynecologist you feel comfortable with and entrust your problems to professionals.

To know when to consult a gynecologist, try this.

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