Over the last several years, there’s been a significant decrease in the number of women who see the OBGYN (obstetrician-gynecologist) on a regular basis. Many women have never seen an OBGYN at all.
If you’re part of this group, what’s stopping you? Are you anxious about what the appointment will be like?
Many women let fear stop them from seeing the OBGYN for regular check-ups. It’s important to make these appointments a priority, especially for women who are getting a bit older.
If you’re not what sure what to expect from an OBGYN appointment, keep reading. Everything you need to know, along with tips on finding the right doctor, is explained down below.
Why Do Regular Check-Ups Matter?
Is it really important for you to get regular check-ups from an OBGYN? The short answer is yes, it is.
Regular OBGYN appointments ought to be part of your long-term healthcare plan. Here are some of the reasons why:
Maintain Good Overall Health
During an exam, an OBGYN can detect a lot of potential health problems, including issues that might not be directly related to the reproductive system. Seeing an OBGYN can help you prevent health conditions and catch them early.
Learn About Birth Control Options
If you’ve been curious about your birth control options or want to switch to a different kind of birth control, your OBGYN can give you recommendations. They’ll take your specific needs and lifestyle into account and recommend an option that’s a good fit for you.
Improve Your Sexual Experience
If you experience pain or discomfort during sex, your OBGYN can help you find out why. During their exam, they’ll be able to detect any issues that may be causing these problems.
Get Help with Fertility Issues
OBGYNs can also help with fertility issues. If you’re struggling to get pregnant or are getting ready to start trying for a baby, your OBGYN can provide guidance and recommendations to help you through the process.
What to Expect from an OBGYN Appointment
Okay, you’re convinced that it’s a good idea to see the OBGYN on a regular basis. You still might be nervous about what will happen during your first appointment though.
Everyone’s experience with the OBGYN is a bit different. In general, you can expect your appointment to go something like this:
At the beginning of your appointment, the nurse at your OBGYN’s office will ask you if you have any questions or specific health concerns that you want to address. They’ll likely ask about your health history at this time too.
General Health Check
Next, the nurse will move on to a general health check. This includes taking your blood pressure, checking your temperature, and monitoring your heart rate—the same stuff that happens at the beginning of every doctor’s appointment.
After your health check, the OBGYN will come in and perform the physical exam. They’ll likely ask you the same (or similar) questions as the nurse about your concerns and health history.
During the physical exam, the OBGYN will exam the outside of the vagina to check for abnormalities. Your feet will be in stirrups and your knees will be bent to make the examination easier.
They’ll then move on to check the inside of the vagina and cervix with a speculum. This portion of the exam can be a bit uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful.
After the physical exam, your OBGYN will perform a pap test. This involves removing a sample of cells from your cervix with a small brush to test for cervical cancer, HPV (short for human papillomavirus), and any other abnormalities.
Next, they’ll perform a bimanual exam. This involves inserting two fingers into the vagina. At the same time, they’ll place the other hand on top of your abdomen. This allows them to check for abnormalities in the cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
During your OBGYN appointment, you’ll likely receive a breast exam, too. During this exam, they’ll check for any lumps or other abnormalities.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Knowing what happens during a typical appointment can help to put you at ease before you arrive. It also helps to do some physical and mental preparation to help you feel calmer and more confident.
The following steps are all helpful to do before an appointment with your OBGYN:
- Avoid using creams or powders the day of your appointment
- Avoid sexual intercourse a day or two before the appointment
- Avoid douching or inserting anything like tampons into your vagina a day or two before the appointment
Dress in comfortable clothes that you can quickly take off and put back on. This will make undressing for the exam easier.
How to Find the Right OBGYN
In order to have a good experience with the OBGYN, you need to do some research and ensure you’re working with the right one.
Keep these tips in mind while looking for an OBGYN so as to find someone who’s a good fit for you:
- Check with your insurance provider to see which OBGYNs are included in your network
- Think about your health history and make a note of any family conditions that the doctor ought to know about
- Research their methods and find out if they use any special technology, such as ultrasound, to yield more accurate results
- Consider their reviews and see what the general consensus is about their methods and bedside manner
Pay attention to the service you receive when scheduling the appointment. Is the receptionist polite and courteous? Is it easy for you to get an appointment that works with your schedule?
Schedule Your Appointment Today
As you can see, it’s very important to make time for regular check-ups with your OBGYN.
Now that you know more about what to expect from an OBGYN appointment, as well as what you need to do to ensure you’re working with the right doctor, it’s time to start your search and schedule your first appointment.
Keep this information in mind and you’ll have no trouble finding a doctor who meets your needs (and your budget).
Do you want to learn more about improving your health and saving money on healthcare costs? Visit the Health and Fitness section of our site today for some additional information.