If you’re scheduling your first gynecology visit and are curious what a gynecologist is, you aren’t alone.
Many women have questions when it comes to seeing a gynecologist and when they should schedule an appointment.
What Does a Gynecologist Do?
A gynecologist is a medical doctor who specializes in women’s reproductive health, including the uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, vagina and vulva. Your doctor can detect problems before they arise and answer any questions you have about your reproductive health. Gynecologists often treat conditions or problems about menstruation, contraception, sexual health, and menopause. Most gynecologists also specialize in obstetrics, including pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
When Should I Start Seeing a Gynecologist?
If you are over the age of 21, are sexually active, or have a concern you’d like to discuss with your doctor, you should schedule a gynecology visit. Having problems with your period, needing your annual pelvic exam, or having questions about birth control are common reasons women schedule an appointment with their gynecologist.
What Happens During an Examination at Virginia Women’s Health Associates?
During gynecology exams, there are a few tests that are typically done. It is recommended that women have an annual pelvic exam, breast exam, and a pap test.
Pelvic Exam. A pelvic exam is when the gynecologist examines the outside of your genitals, in addition to looking inside or examining the vagina, ovaries, and/or uterus.
Pap Test. A pap smear, or pap test, checks the cervix for abnormal cells which can signal conditions like cervical cancer. Your gynecologist will take a few cells from your cervix to test. A pap test should be done at least every 3 years after the age of 21 or after becoming sexually active.
Breast Exam. A clinical breast exam will also be done to check for any abnormalities, like a lump, to detect breast cancer.
Questions for your Gynecologist
During your gynecology visit, it’s also a good time to ask any questions or bring up problems you are experiencing. If you have missed your period, are having painful or heavy periods, or are experiencing abnormal vaginal discharge, you should bring this up during your appointment.
To learn more about scheduling your first appointment with the gynecologists at Virginia Women’s Health Associates, contact us at (703) 435-2555.