Annual Gynecologic Exam
Here is what you can expect at your appointment:
- A nurse will ask you questions about your personal health history and your family health history. She may also ask about health behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, using illegal drugs, and sexual history. Some of the questions may feel very personal to you, but remember that everything that you share is private between you and your doctor unless you give written permission for it to be discussed with someone else.
- The nurse will weigh you and check your blood pressure. She will have you give us a urine sample for testing.
- You will be given a gown that opens in the front to wear and a sheet to cover your legs. You will need to remove all clothes including undergarments.
- Your ob-gyn will talk to you briefly about your concerns and will explain the gynecological exam to you. This is a good time to bring up any questions you have.
- Your ob-gyn will feel each breast to find unusual lumps or changes in tissue and skin.
- Pelvic exam. You will lie on the exam table with your knees bent and your feet resting in stirrups to keep your legs apart. Your ob-gyn will sit at the end of the table for the exam. A pelvic exam includes inspection of the vulva, insertion of a speculum to allow inspection of the vagina and cervix, the exam with two fingers in the vagina and another hand on top of the abdomen to examine the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The speculum is an instrument that slides smoothly into your vagina to stretch it slightly so your doctor can take samples from your cervix. The pelvic exam should not be painful, but there may be some discomfort or pressure, and the speculum may feel cold at first.
- During the pelvic exam, your doctor will take cells from your cervix for a Pap smear, which checks for changes in the cervix. The Pap smear is not painful.
- Your ob-gyn will talk to you the various forms of contraception.
- You may request testing for sexually transmitted diseases or your provider at Capital Region Women's Care may recommend testing. This is done by taking samples from your vagina, although some sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed with a blood test.
- We encourage you to discuss anything that you're concerned about. Your doctor will let you know if she sees anything unusual and may recommend additional testing based on this exam. The results of the Pap smear and STD tests will be available within two weeks, but at this point your provider can give you a prescription for birth control or any medication that you need.
You may be nervous about having your first gynecologist exam, but think of your ob-gyn as your partner in sexual health. You can feel comfortable talking with your provider about some of your most private health issues.