Every woman, at some point in their lives, will have their first visit to their Houston Gynecologist. It is the recommendation of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that girls have their first appointment between 13 and 15 years old.
Physicians who specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology help you with information regarding your body, menstruation, and sexuality. They are the providers that will guide you as you make decisions about pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention. If you should have reproductive issues, problematic menstrual cycles, or pain, they will offer the necessary treatment.
SETTING AND PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
When you call the office to make an appointment, you need to be able to tell them why you are coming in to see the OB/GYN. Let them know if you are just setting your first appointment at the ACOG suggestion or if you have a specific issue that you would like to address.
If you have regular periods, be mindful of making sure that your appointment occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle. You will also want to jot down information on the first day of your last period and note any pain, heavy bleeding, or mood changes that occur with your period.
Get together any family medical history, especially regarding female family members, and have this ready to discuss with your physician.
Take the time before your exam to make a list of questions you may have. A good question to start with at the beginning of your appointment is, “What will happen today?” The answer to this question can help alleviate your fears and prepare you for what is to come.
On the day of your appointment, shower so that you can feel your best, but avoid using any powders or cream. Dress comfortably and be on time.
GETTING CHECKED IN AND INTO EXAM ROOM
The office staff will ask about insurance information and have paperwork to complete, this is why it is essential to be on time or even a little early. The nurse will then call you back and may get your weight and ask for urine and blood samples.
Your blood pressure will also be done at this time. The nurse will then provide you with a gown or sheet to cover yourself and ask you to partially undress in preparation for your visit with the doctor.
CONSULTING WITH YOUR DOCTOR
After getting settled in the exam room and being first assessed by a nurse to check your weight, height, and vitals, your doctor will come in to have a frank talk with you. They will help answer any questions you have and share any helpful information. But they will also ask questions about you and your family. Those will include questions about your menstrual period, including when your period began and how long it lasted. Your sexual activity and history will also be on the table. Your doctor is not looking to pry or judge you. They simply need the full picture to properly treat you and know what exams you may need.
THE GENERAL EXAMINATIONS
After having a consultation with you, your physician will conduct a general and genital exam. The physical exam will include checking the results of your blood pressure, weight and height that the nurse collected. Your physician will also perform a breast exam to check for any abnormalities. Once you are feet are in the stirrups, the physician will begin the external genital exam by checking external genitals and examine your vulva.
This exam should be painless but communicate any discomfort or pain with your physician during the exam.
OTHER EXAMINATIONS THAT MAY BE NECESSARY ON YOUR FIRST VISIT
Sometimes it is necessary to have a pelvic exam or Pap smear on your first visit. The pelvic exam checks your vagina and cervix using a lubricated speculum and a physical check of the internal reproductive organs with a gloved hand. During this exam, the gynecologist will be looking for any abnormalities.
This exam will probably feel odd, but breathing through it can help. The Pap smear would include a sample of cells being taken from your cervix during the pelvic exam.
BEFORE LEAVING THE OFFICE
Before you leave the office, ensure that any questions that you had have been answered. During check out at the front desk, make your next appointment and ask how you can follow up on the results of any performed tests.
BE EMPOWERED AND IN CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH CARE
Remember that your gynecological health is an integral part of taking care of yourself. You make the choices regarding your care. For example, if you feel more comfortable with a female OB/GYN, it is okay to ask for one. Let your provider and the office staff know that this is your first visit and that you are nervous. You are in control of your health and this and all other appointments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak your mind throughout the visit. And know that you will get more comfortable as these become more common for you.