Going to the gynecologist can be stressful, especially for the first time. Typically, it is best to visit your gynecologist regularly, but if you haven’t been in a while, there are a few general questions and topics to discuss with your clinician. To get the most out of your next OBGYN appointment, here are some tips to follow:
Find the Best Fit for You
If it’s your first time visiting the OBGYN, finding a doctor to trust with your sexual health and history is daunting. Everyone is different, and finding a gynecologist is like finding a therapist—you have to make sure you feel comfortable around them.
The best way to find an OBGYN clinic or specialist? Ask people you know as a place to start. From there, you can research recommended clinics and clinicians to try and find one you’d like to visit.
When You Should Call Your OBGYN
Whether it’s been a while, or it’s your first time scheduling an appointment, it is always important to call your OBGYN when a major change happens with your sexual life, and any other business in that area. Get a new partner? Notify your OBGYN. Have sex for the first time? Definitely call. Experience painful period symptoms that keep you from doing essential daily activities? Call immediately. Think you’re pregnant? You get the gist.
- What kinds of contraceptives are available to me?
- If my partner has an STI, should I be concerned?
- Is the pain I’m experiencing from my period, or something else?
- Is the amount of pain I am feeling while on my period healthy?
- My [specific location on the groin] hurts, what do I do?
- I found a lump in my chest. What do I do?
General Visit Tips
It is best to visit your OBGYN at least once a year for routine examinations and tests, and you can use this time to keep them updated on your sexual history, reaction to birth control or hormones, and any other minor changes that may occur throughout the year. This is the perfect time to ask any questions you have regarding your personal sexual health, and get advice from an expert in how to stay healthy. These questions don’t have to be about you specifically—you can ask anything. A few common questions are:
- Is it safe to have sex while I’m on my period?
- How do I give myself a breast exam?
- How long should my period last?
- What are alternative options to birth control/condoms/other various contraceptives?
- What changes health and risk-wise if my partner also has a vagina?
- If I am on hormones, how does this change my body chemistry?
Remember, you ultimately know yourself best, and if something feels wrong, speak out about it. It is an obstetrician/gynecologist’s job to understand and help with any problems related to sex, pregnancy, and the vaginal area in general. If you have any questions or concerns, call your primary care physician or your OBGYN as soon as possible.