Regular pelvic exams are an essential part of any preventative health care plan, for these exams allow your OB/GYN to examine your sexual organs and look for signs of disease, infection or pre-cancerous cells.
While it is an important part of any health care routine, the first pelvic exam can be intimidating for High Desert women. It is normal and common for an Apple Valley patient to feel anxious or upset about the idea of a pelvic exam, but patients who are armed with the right information will feel at ease prior to their first appointment with the OB/GYN.
What Can I Expect from the Pelvic Exam?
The doctor is going to examine all parts of the pelvic region, including your vulva, cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and vagina. A pap test will likely be performed in order to test for infection and any pre-cancerous cells that may be present on the cervix. Early detection is essential for treating cervical cancer, so regular pap tests are important. In addition to the pelvic exam, the doctor will likely examine your breasts, discuss your medical history, and perform tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
When Should I Have My First Pelvic Exam?
It is recommended that women who do not have any pre-existing issues or problems have their first pelvic exam performed at 21 years old. Some women may have them performed sooner, depending on their history and their needs from the doctor.
How Should I Prepare for this Exam?
When scheduling your appointment, attempt to make the appointment during a time when you are not on your period. For two days prior to the appointment, avoid intercourse and do not put anything into your vagina, such as a tampon. If you have questions for the doctor, write them down prior to your appointment in order to make sure you don’t forget to ask. If you are still uncomfortable with the appointment, ask the doctor if you can invite a trusted relative or friend to come with you.
What Will the Doctor Ask Me About at My Appointment?
The doctor will ask you general questions about your sexual health history and your family’s medical history. The doctor may ask about the date of your last period, how long your periods last, and if you have any issues before, during, or after intercourse. The doctor will also ask you about any health problems you or close family members may have.
Your OB/GYN will be understanding of the fact that this is your first pelvic exam and will likely take some time to talk you through the process. The goal is to help you feel comfortable and relaxed, for this is an important part of taking care of your body throughout adulthood. Pelvic exams are necessary for women who are not sexually active, who are sexually active, who are trying to conceive, and who are perimenopausal and even menopausal.
Most women find that the idea of the pelvic exam is often more uncomfortable than the exam itself. If you feel that now is the time to go in for your first pelvic exam appointment, contact your obstetrics and gynecology doctor today in order to set up this important appointment.