It is normal to have some nervousness about your first gynecology appointment. The Women’s Care team is here to provide some information on what to expect and help guide you through the process.
How to Prepare
The appropriate age for the first gynecology appointment may vary according to a person’s needs; but can range from the early teens up to age 21. Talking to a family member or a trusted friend about any questions or concerns you may have beforehand is a great way to feel ready for your first exam. It is okay to be nervous. Tell your provider how you are feeling so they can help you feel more comfortable. Your Women’s Care doctor or nurse practitioner is here to support you and make the process as comfortable as possible.
What to Expect
Your provider will obtain your health and menstrual history, perform a complete physical examination, and answer any questions you may have about your health. In the genital examination, your provider will inspect your vulva and gently check internally. Often a pap smear is not performed at your first examination. Your provider will explain the examination so you will know what to expect as it occurs. This first visit is also a great time to ask your doctor any questions you have about birth control, STIs, your menstrual cycle and anything else you want to discuss.
Your First Pap Smear
If you are nearing the age of 21, that means it’s time to start thinking about getting your first pap smear. A pap smear is an exam where your doctor takes a sample of cells with a small brush from your cervix to check for cancers and precancerous changes of the cervix. Current guidelines recommend a pap smear every three years between the ages of 21 and 29. If you are experiencing any pain, signs of an infection, or have questions, call your doctor to schedule an appointment. The examination is easy and is often performed during your annual gynecology exam.
Being well-prepared for your first gynecology examination will help ease any concerns you may have. Reach out to Women’s Care if you have any questions and are ready to schedule your first exam. We are here to help women at every stage of life.