Dear Hope: First Time at the Gynecologist

Dear Hope,gynecologist
I’m getting ready to go to the gynecologist for the first time. I’m super nervous, because I don’t know what to expect. My friends said not to tell the doctor I was having sex, because they would tell my mom is that true? What is going to happen when I go?
– Nervous

Dear Nervous,
It’s ok to be a little nervous, especially your first time. Although the appointment can be a bit uncomfortable, it’s an important visit and nothing to worry about. When you make your appointment, ask about the confidentiality. Doctors understand you wanting to keep things private, but ask before you go in if you are concerned.

What to expect:
First, they will ask you some questions. It is important to answer all questions as honestly as possible. The more they know, the better they can help you. You have already asked about the confidentiality, so you should be feeling more comfortable.

Some of the questions they will ask:
The date of your last period
If you have any problems with your period, such as pain or heavy bleeding
If you have any discharge, sores, itchiness or discomfort in the vaginal area
If you have any health conditions
Your family history
If you take any medications
If you have any allergies
If you drink or smoke
If you are, or have ever been, sexually active (meaning vaginal, oral, or anal sex)
If you have been on birth control and if so what type
If you have ever been pregnant or think you are pregnant

I know it seems like a lot, but it is only to help you. Remember, anything you say the doctor has heard before. They are not there to judge you.

Next: The Checkup 
The doctor will begin with an external exam. If needed, depending on age and sexual activity, they will then do an internal exam. Check out this article: Your First Appointment With The Gynecologist, from U by Kotex for more info on the exams.

Then it’s your turn to ask any questions
You can ask anything; remember they have probably heard it all. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to speak up. Remember, this appointment is about you and your health.

Most girls are nervous before their first visit, but being prepared and knowing what to expect helps.
The doctor is not there to judge you; they want you to feel comfortable. If you are not comfortable, find a new doctor. Keep looking until you find the right fit for you.

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