If you’ve never been to a gynecologist, it’s normal to have a bit of anxiety when you finally schedule a visit. This is probably because you’ve heard stories from your friends and family about uncomfortable or embarrassing encounters. Although this is a reality for many women, it can be helpful to know what will happen during your first visit with our award-winning team of gynecologists. This can help ensure a positive experience! When you schedule your Well Woman’s Exam at our New York City office, here’s what to expect.
Before you head out for your appointment, there are some things you should have prepared. The most important thing is to be ready to discuss any concerns you have about symptoms or things you want to change about your health. You can always bring a list of questions so that you can stay on track when speaking with your gynecologist. Additionally, you may be due for a pelvic exam, in which case you may want to reschedule if you have your period. Also, bring your menstrual calendar with you. You’re encouraged to bring a close friend or family member if it helps you feel comfortable during the appointment; otherwise, we can provide a nurse or chaperone to be in the room with you and your gynecologist.
The Gynecological Exam
There are three basic exams that are routinely performed during a well woman’s appointment. If you’ve never experienced these exams before, make sure to let your gynecologist know. They can talk you through each step and make sure you feel comfortable!
Pelvic Exam and Pap Test
This exam checks for anything abnormal or concerning about your pelvic area. It usually covers four different areas— the external genital exam, the speculum exam, the Pap test, and the manual exam. During this phase, you’ll lie on a table with your legs apart and a sheet draped over you for privacy (your friend, family member, or chaperone will remain out of view for this step). Once you’re relaxed, your gynecologist will examine your outer genitals to look for signs of abnormalities, conditions, or sexually transmitted infections.
Next, your gynecologist will carefully insert a tool called a speculum into your vagina. This is not normally painful, but ensuring your pelvic muscles are relaxed can reduce any discomfort. Your gynecologist can also apply a lubricant. A speculum widens the walls of the vagina to allow your gynecologist to view your cervix. Then, a Pap test is performed. A Pap smear checks the cervix for cancerous cells. During this, a tiny tool is inserted through the speculum to take a sample of cells for further lab testing. You may feel a small pinch during this, but a Pap test is completed very quickly. After the Pap smear, your gynecologist will insert two gloved fingers to feel your ovaries and uterus for any lumps. They may also put a hand on your lower stomach to get a better feel of your abdominal region. If you’re physically or emotionally uncomfortable at any stage of these exams, make sure to let your gynecologist know and they can take steps to help you have a positive experience.
After the pelvic exam and Pap test, your gynecologist can feel around your breasts to check for any lumps or density. This is performed one breast at a time so you can remain covered as much as possible. Your gynecologist will also make sure you know how to complete this exam at home.
Talking with Your Gynecologist
Another important part of your appointment is discussing your health with your gynecologist. You may discuss things about your reproductive health like birth control, sexual activity, and your family history. You may also discuss your overall health and any concerns you might have about things like your weight, diet, relationships, medications, and mental health. It’s important to be honest with your gynecologist who can recommend the best ways for you to stay happy and healthy!
Schedule an Appointment
A well woman’s exam is one of the best ways to optimize your health with the help of a compassionate, experienced gynecologist. To schedule a well woman’s appointment, we invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.