Once a year we ladies have the pleasure of visiting the gynecologist. Some women go on their birthday every year as not to forget. While others, myself included, procrastinate until December and then cram in an appointment before the end of the year for insurance purposes.
The thought of getting naked and throwing your legs up in stirrups for someone we really don’t know can be anxiety provoking. What’s he going to ask me? What is she really thinking? Should I tell her about this? So many things may go through our head on the drive to the doctor’s office.
Now that I am on the other side of the stirrups, I have a bit of advice for my fellow sisters. These tips may make your visit more pleasant to both you and your lucky gyno.
10 things to know…
Number 1… Know when your last menstrual period was. I know you have 188 numbers, passwords, & dates to keep up with, but take a minute while in the waiting room to figure this out. We are going to ask you. And it may be an important piece of information to help us figure some stuff out. So put that smart phone to use, download an app or circle it in your planner. That way you don’t look unreliable when we ask ya.
Number 2… Don’t forget to shower before your appointment. Especially if you had sex the night before (eww, I know)! Just be considerate of the person who will be examining you…thanks. We also have those little wipie thingies in the bathroom… so please do take advantage.
Number 3… We have seen almost everything! No need to be shy or embarrassed! It’s super important to be up front when you answer questions. For example, if you are a smoker and you are asking for birth control… we need to know that! It will determine which contraception method is safest for you. Also, if your practitioner tries to make you feel ashamed or embarrassed, find a new one! That is not our job.
p.s. we are not going to ask you how many people you have had sex with…that is between you and the Lord. Calm down.
Number 4… Please know what medications you are taking. Listing them on your smart phone can be super handy. We need to know what you’re on before prescribing medication or hormones.
Number 5… you will need to be naked. Please take your bra off so that you don’t have to try to wiggle it out from under your paper gown while we stare at you, annoyed.
Number 6… it’s really not necessary to bring your husband or boyfriend to your pap smear. It’s weird. Save that for the prenatal visits.
Number 7…When we ask you how many times you have been pregnant that includes miscarriages and abortions. We don’t ask you this to judge but many times we need to know this information. We are able to rule a lot of things out when we know the facts.
Number 8… Yes we want you to pee in a cup. Just be prepared to pee.
Number 9… Although we saw you 12 months ago, we have seen a lot of women since then. We are human and may need a refresher of what is going on. Yes, it is probably in our chart… but we are probably still going to have questions. Number 10… Remember to relax! We can talk about whatever you want to while you are being examined. When you tense up and close you legs during an exam, it makes the exam take longer and also makes it way more uncomfortable for you. We are moving as fast as we can! Just remember to breath.
Number 10… keep in mind that everything does not have a quick fix or an easy straight forward answer. Several tests and procedures may be required and we still may not come up with a concrete diagnosis and we certainly may not tell you what you want to hear. Be patient and compliant and know that we are doing the best we can in the safest way possible.
Hope this helped with your future OBGYN visits!
From your friendly neighborhood nurse.