Whether it’s your first or 50th gynecological appointment, this type of medical exam isn’t always easy. This is a situation that can make some people anxious, uneasy, or uncomfortable. Here is a short guide that lets you know what to expect during your next gynecological exam.
What is a gynecological exam?
First of all, a gynecological checkup is specifically done to examine the female reproductive system.
It’s also an opportunity to discuss your menstrual cycle, your contraception options, and any questions you may have regarding your sexual health or reproductive system.
The gynecological examination is also very important, since it helps make sure that the organs are in good health and is used to screen for potential diseases. Learn more about where you can go for a STI/STD Testing.
How often should you have a gynecological exam?
Where, when, how?
A doctor’s appointment should normally be made regularly at a medical clinic. This is obviously more relevant if you feel discomfort, notice abnormal changes, or have questions.
A gynecological exam is typically performed while you are lying on a table, with your behind at the end. You may also be asked to place your feet into two stirrups to be able to examine you better.
Gynecological exams typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood.
Cervical cancer screenings are usually performed every 2 or 3 years when a woman is in an exclusive, committed relationship. Indeed, cervical cancer is usually secondary to a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection contracted following a new relationship. Your gynecological checkup may include a breast exam to screen for a lump that might possibly indicate breast cancer.
What happens in a gynecological exam?
A gynecological exam always starts with a conversation with your family doctor. It’s essential to validate your medical history with them, including possible pregnancies and abortions, whether or not you want to take or change contraception, and even your sexual habits.
Although some questions may seem intrusive or even a bit embarrassing, it’s important to talk about them so that your assessment is done to the best of your doctor’s abilities during your gynecological examination.
The gynecological examination steps
Your doctor may then insert a speculum, a type of two-bladed forceps that helps open the vagina to better examine the vulva. While a bit uncomfortable, this examination is essential, since it helps detect yeast infections, genital warts, and any other anomalies.
This should be done with sensitivity and delicacy, and it’s important to notify your doctor in case of pain.
The doctor may also perform a manual vaginal examination to detect by palpation other anomalies such as cysts, a tumour of the ovaries or uterus.
The doctor may also take a swab of the cervix with a long brush to check for the presence of abnormal cells. These are often secondary to the presence of papillomavirus, which is itself responsible for many cases of cervical cancer.
In short, although a gynecological exam may seem intimidating at first, it’s essential to women’s health and well-being. If this matters to you, make an appointment at Créa-Med, a private medical clinic that can help support you.