Aug 20, 2022

What you should know before visiting a gynaecologist

When should you see a gynaecologist? In some ways, the answer is simple, while in others it is more complicated. Experts recommend that women and people with female reproductive organs visit a gynaecologist as soon as they become sexually active or at least once before the age of 21.

Good gynaecological care, as this type of medical care is known, is essential for a variety of reasons. Depending on your needs and insurance coverage, you may receive gynaecological care from a gynaecologist, a primary care provider (PCP), such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, or a nurse practitioner. Consider this post "Gynecare 101. In it, I will describe the fundamental reasons for a gynaecological care visit and how to choose between a gynaecologist and a primary care physician. I will also talk about what happens during a visit to a gynecologist, what will be talked about, and how to make the visit as comfortable as possible.

Common types of gynaecological care
Visiting your health care team or a gynaecologist for gynaecological care is advisable for the following reasons:

A Pap smear to help prevent cervical cancer (this screening test examines cells on the cervix for abnormalities or precancerous changes); 
a discussion of birth control options; 
remedies for painful, heavy, or irregular periods; 
and changes in vaginal discharge, which may indicate a vaginal infection (for example, a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis).
If you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI), such as burning when you urinate, cloudy or bloody urine, urinating more frequently than usual, or having an intense urge to urinate, consult your doctor.vulva (outer portion of the vagina) rashes, bumps, or irritationSymptoms of perimenopause or menopause, such as irregular periods, hot flashes, or vaginal dryness.
Should you visit a general practitioner or a gynaecologist?
Numerous primary care teams, particularly family medicine practitioners, are equipped to provide fundamental gynaecology care. They can do Pap smears and test for STIs, give you medicine or advice for UTIs, vaginal infections, and urinary tract infections, and help you choose the best way to prevent pregnancy.

Nevertheless, a gynaecologist is the best person to address certain issues. For instance, you should consult a gynaecologist if you have a vaginal discharge.

Periods that are painful or irregular
Severe pelvic pain or pain during sexual activity. 
Recurrent vaginal infections, such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Urinary tract infections that reoccur.
Sexual assault.

Consult a gynaecologist about birth control if you want to use long-acting methods, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or a birth control implant, or if you have certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or lupus, that make certain birth control methods unsafe for you.

What occurs during a visit for gynaecological care?
As with any physician, a gynaecologist will inquire about your medical history. They will also inquire about your sexual history, including when you first had sex and whether you are sexually active, as well as your desire to have children.

When I see a new patient for a gynaecological exam, I perform a comprehensive examination that includes a breast exam, an abdominal exam, and a pelvic exam. The vulva and labia (lips) that form the outer genitalia, inner thigh, and buttocks are examined during a pelvic exam. I then use a speculum to examine the vaginal tissues. This examination may be slightly uncomfortable due to a feeling of pressure, but it should not be painful. Always inform your provider if you are experiencing pain during the examination.

If you have symptoms, you may be tested for vaginal infections, sexually transmitted infections, or urinary tract infections. Any vulvar skin issues may necessitate a small skin biopsy or lesion sample.

What should you discuss with your  gynaecologist during your visit
During your visit, you must remember to discuss a few vital topics. People frequently feel nervous and anxious during these types of sensitive visits, so it is best to write these down ahead of time.

Your sexual history (number of partners, any concerns about STI exposure)
leaking urine or difficulty controlling your urine output.
Low sexual drive or desire Discomfort or pain during sex when periods are heavy or irregular.
Any vaginal odour, discomfort, or abnormal discharge, rashes or bumps in the pelvic region, future pregnancy concerns or plans.

How can you maximise your comfort during gynaecologist visits?
It is normal to experience anxiety. During the exams, you may feel vulnerable and even uneasy as you discuss sensitive topics. Here are some suggestions for maximising your comfort during these appointments:

Inform your provider if you experience anxiety or nervousness during gynaecological visits.
Ask all of your questions before the physical exam begins.
Inform the physician if this is your first pelvic examination.
If you've been sexually assaulted or hurt in the past, let your doctor know that it might be hard for you to go through these kinds of exams.
During your exam, practise mindful breathing or other relaxation techniques.

There are additional ways to make gynaecologist visits more pleasant.

You may also consult your provider.

They will explain why each portion of the exam is necessary and inform you of any tests or labs that will be performed. This will inform you when a portion of the exam may feel uncomfortable or when to anticipate a feeling of pressure. You have the right to refuse any portion of the examination, and your provider should respect your wishes. You can also ask for a chaperone to be there during the test if you feel safer with one there.

Trust your gut. If your interaction with a certain provider was unpleasant or you did not feel a connection with them, you should seek out a different provider. Ask your friends if they can recommend anyone.


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