About AOA

The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
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Your First Visit to the Gynecologist

First Visit to the Gynecologist

Taking care of your health is very important. Regular visits to your AOA gynecologist are important if you care about your body and want to stay healthy, however, a gynecological examination is something that many young women are afraid of before they actually have it for the first time.

At AOA, you do not even need to have a pelvic exam to be seen with us. In the beginning, many mothers bring their teenage daughters to get to know us, our resources, and help with what we have available for young women at this very special stage of their lives.

When pelvic exams are necessary, we have provided an overview of what will happen during your first visit to a gynecologist, including the information on preparing yourself beforehand.

Why it’s Important to Have Regular Gynecological Exams

Regular gynecological exams serve at least three main purposes:

  1. Information. You can get accurate information and confidential answers to any questions you may have concerning sex, sexuality, your changing body, and menstruation.
  2. Prevention. You can learn about pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and healthy lifestyles.
  3. Treatment. For women who experience missed periods, pain, or other reproductive problems, your AOA doctor can look into why the problems are occurring and offer treatment options.

Before the Exam

Avoid sexual intercourse, having a vaginal douche, or putting anything (such as tampons) into your vagina for two days before the exam. Think ahead about the questions you’d like to ask your AOA doctor during the visit. Writing the questions down will make it easier to remember. Some areas where you may have questions include birth control methods, common infections, irregular periods, painful periods, and mood swings related to your periods.

On the day of your scheduled exam you do not need to do anything special. Shower normally with soap and water, avoiding talc or cream, since it could affect test results. Wear comfortable clothes in order to feel calm when you have to get undressed.

On the Day of the Exam

Before your examination a nurse may ask for urine and blood samples. The nurse will also weigh and measure you and take your blood pressure. Afterwards you will talk to your doctor, who will ask various questions about your previous medical history, your family history and past surgeries. It is also important for you to remember when your first period was and what it is like - whether your menstrual cycle is regular, how long it lasts, etc. It is important to tell your doctor whether you are sexually active or not. Your AOA doctor is a partner in your health care, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Your gynecologist will then ask you to undress and leave you alone in a room for a while. You will also be given a hospital gown or drape sheet, which will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. After you are ready, the doctor will ask you to sit on the examining table putting your feet in the foot rests/stirrups.

Physical and External Genitalia Exams

Physical examination includes palpation of the breasts to check for any abnormalities, pelvic, abdominal and manual exams. You AOA physician will examine your external genitalia with gloves on. Your vulva will be examined for any pathologic symptoms. Physical examination should not be painful but if it is, you should tell your doctor right away, since this could be a sign of certain pathology.

Speculum Examination

The speculum exam follows the physical examination. The gynecologist will insert a lubricated speculum into the vagina to check for any abnormalities like cysts, erosions, irritations and others. Before the speculum is inserted the doctor will first slip a finger into your vagina to find the cervix and detect the vaginal angle.

During this exam the Pap smear is taken. This means that a few cells of your cervix will be swiped with a brush or spatula. This is not painful but may cause some spotting for the patient afterwards, which should not be painful either. The doctor will then collect samples for sexually transmitted diseases tests. Only then the speculum will be gently removed from a woman’s vagina and the examination will be over.

Bimanual Exam

During this part of gynecological examination the gynecologist will lubricate her/his two (second and third) fingers and put them into the vagina. The doctor will put another hand on the abdomen in order to palpate the uterus and ovaries and check for any swelling or growths.

The bimanual exam ends the gynecological examination, which normally takes not longer than 5 minutes. You may now remove your legs from the stirrups and get up from the examination table and get dressed.

After the Exam

An office nurse will follow up with any test results, either by phone or by email.

Helping You Feel Comfortable and Well Informed

Your AOA physician and office staff will go out of their way to make sure you understand the elements of the exam and feel as comfortable as possible. Be sure to ask if you have any questions or concerns.