Are You Getting the Most out of Your Gynecology Visit? Follow This CheckList

Sure, the metal is cold, the tests are uncomfortable, and the doctor isn’t looking anywhere near your face, but that yearly trip to the OB/GYN is a vital part of a woman’s health. There are ways to make it easier, more comfortable, and get a truer look at your overall health.

Write it down

We’ve all been there. For days before the appointment, you think of all the things you want to ask. They are pithy, intelligent, and show how well you know your own body. But then you get into that room and wear that flimsy gown and all those questions fly out of your head.

That is, until the doctor has left the room. You don’t have to live with that frustration. Just keep a sheet of paper handy in the days leading up to the exam. Write down your questions and take them with you when you visit the doctor.

Even if the doctor answers some of the questions during the course of the exam, you can always check your question sheet before he or she leaves to make sure you have all the info you need from the exam.

Know your history

This is especially important if you are seeing a new gynecologist, but even your familiar doctor may forget everything you have experienced.

Note your last period and its duration. Are you on the pill? Know the type and strength. Have an IUD? Know when it was inserted. But don’t just stop with yourself. Know your family history too. Has anyone had breast, cervical or ovarian cancer?

Just say no

It’s a good idea to abstain from sex for 24 hours before your exam. This gives your doctor a better idea of your natural vaginal state. In addition, using spermicides, condoms, and lubricants can change the pH of the tissue. It changes some of the tests and may lead to false readings.

Don’t “ladyscape”

A normally clean body is the best to take into the gynecologist’s office. In other words, shower, but don’t use douches, wipes, or other cleaning products in the vaginal area.

Like sex, these products can change the pH of your vagina. In addition, if you aren’t used to these products, they can create a reaction that mimic other health issues.

Talk about sex

Has your sex drive disappeared? Gone into overdrive? Are some positions or activities painful? Don’t be embarrassed to ask about it. Your doctor has answers and has probably heard all these questions before.

Ask questions

Your visit is a great time to ask those long-term questions. If you wonder about menstrual pain, don’t stay silent. Ask.

Go over your family history with the doctor. If there is a history of cancer or birth defects, discuss whether you would benefit from genetic testing.

If your doctor changes your birth control or any other medication, ask about side effects and any changes for which you should be alert.

Keep it easy

When you leave, make sure to make an appointment for your next yearly exam. You can ask the receptionist to send you a reminder card or text, so you are ready for your next visit.

Are you looking for a new gynecologist? Call 317-893-3131 or book an appointment with us online at

Image: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash]

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