Let’s Talk About: Going to the Gynecologist

gynoIt’s certainly not everyone’s favorite topic or time of year, but it is a very important one. When it comes to writing these sexy articles, I like to think that I understand what I’m writing about pretty well, and that I’m sharing what I know & believe with you. It’s important for me to be “walking the talk” with the things I discuss. However, when it comes to the OB/GYN, I’m a big ol’ hypocrite. However, I’m not ashamed to admit that. When it comes to sex, we all have things that we’re uncomfortable or nervous about, and that doesn’t exclude me. So, together, we’re going to research and walk through all of the going to the gyno know-how, and all feel a bit better about it. 

What happens at the gynecologist? What goes on in a usual check up? Why does everyone dread going? I have feared going to the gynecologist since I learned what it was. I cannot tell you why, but I know that not having many answers to questions like these have not helped. I’m completely confident sexually, I know I’m healthy, I’m almost aggressively sex positive, and sex education is one of the biggest passions in my life. None of this adds up to being a person afraid of the gyno. Alas, it’s the truth. And I’m not embarrassed about my fear, because I know it’s an understandable one. I know that many women feel the same way, if not about the gyno then about something else regarding sex or sexuality. We all have that thing that furrows our brow. Though, I do know that most of this, must stem from ignorance. Until now, I haven’t made much of an attempt to learn about gynecological visits, because I wanted to push it out of my brain as much as possible. Today, I face the beast.

I have been told by multiple doctors that I could put off my first gyno visit for a few years because I don’t have sex with men. Outright, they told me I don’t have a lot to worry about. Now, being a told sex nerd, I know that not to be true, but the chicken within me stuck to their answers even though I knew I should have had an appointment years ago. I’m 21. My whole life I have believed that I have been way over due for my first appointment, especially because I have been sexually active for a number of years. It’s a common misconception that you should only go if you’re experiencing concerning symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, yes absolutely go. But even if you feel you’re perfectly healthy, or you know that you’re perfectly healthy, you should go once you are 21 because that is the age that doctors will begin pap smears.

So, now that I know that I’m not as passed due for an appointment as I thought, I needed to know what happens at these things because I’m right on time for scheduling one. We all hear about speculums and stirrups and pap smears and I start to sweat. In my time of darkness, as I always do, I turn to Dr. Doe. Luckily, just in time, Lindsay Doe has been making a series of videos about gyno visits, pelvic exams, and choosing the right professional for you. Praise. First though, we’ll discuss a typical first appointment. There is typically a general exam of things like your height, weight, and your history. It’s important to be honest about yourself, the sex you have, and who you have it with. These doctors are not going to judge you, they just want you to be safe & healthy. That has probably been my biggest obstacle to overcome with this. I fear that the gynecologist will judge me & my sexuality, judge my vagina & what I do with it. Which is why I’ve taken steps to choose the right professional for me; a gynecologist specializing in LGBT medicine. Listen to Dr. Doe’s important steps in choosing the right professional for you:

So, once you’ve got the right person, made the appointment and go to the appointment, what’s going to happen? As I said above, first is a general exam. Then, typically there is a breast exam. The gynecologist isn’t just a vagina doctor, they are a women’s health doctor. So, they’ll feel around your boobs for lumps or anything out of the ordinary. This seems like it’s pretty quick and simple. Then, if you’re sexually active, the doctor will perform a pelvic exam, and even if you’re not sexually active, most likely a pap smear, too. There’s no one better to explain this than a gynecologist and their patient. Dr. Doe was kind enough to film a non-explicit video of herself getting a pelvic exam. It give you so much information about what to expect from a typical appointment. It sounds crazy, but it’s actually brilliant and a fantastic way to acquaint yourself with what will occur during a pelvic exam.

That doesn’t seem so bad, right, Fangirls? Watching that made me feel a whole other world of comfortable about gynecological exams. Certainly, I still have a few butterflies, but knowing exactly what to expect makes it much easier to remain calm and move forward with making an appointment.

So, go forth and make an appointment, Fangirls! Vaginal health is so very, very important, and empowering! Be safe, have fun, and have no fear of the gyno!

 

Here’s a bonus video in which the doctor from the earlier video A’s some Q’s for Dr. Doe! It answers a whole lot of good questions that float around in everyone’s brain, and certainly calms a lot of appointment going nerves!

 

 

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