As a woman, establishing a trusting, on-going relationship with a gynecologist is an important part of your whole health. After all, a gynecologist provides care throughout your entire life — from reproductive health and family planning to menopause, and beyond. Many gynecologists are also obstetricians and guide women through pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
The right provider will help you navigate each of these stages and offer trusted advice. Yet, it’s no secret that many women dread going to the gynecologist. They may feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or even fearful. Those are valid feelings — but it’s our goal to help you feel empowered about your annual women’s health check-up.
Here are some suggestions for making your gynecologic health care more comfortable.
Be Proactive About Finding Your Gynecologist
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that women visit the gynecologist every year for a pelvic exam and discuss any health changes. The ACOG advises that girls first visit the gynecologist between ages 13 and 15. Parents may think their daughters are too young to visit a doctor that focuses on reproductive health, but the reality is that gynecologists do so much more. A gynecologist offers a “safe space” for teens to ask questions and — more importantly — get accurate information about menstrual cycles, healthy relationships and other topics.
Starting early helps build a relationship with your gynecologist — no matter your age. That relationship makes it easier to bring up your own questions and concerns when you have them and gives your doctor the advantage of already knowing your medical history.
Make the First Appointment a Meet and Greet
Ask to schedule a meeting with your new doctor before the first exam. This gives you a chance to get to know each other and communicate your health goals and concerns. Ask your gynecologist to share her or his approach to treating patients and what you can expect at each appointment.
It’s important to be honest with your gynecologist and share your goals for treatment and any concerns you have about your reproductive health. Those will likely change throughout your life — with different priorities and questions at every age and stage. Being open with your gynecologist helps ensure you get the care you want and need.
Trust Your Gut
At the end of the day, it’s your body and health. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel at ease with your provider or are unable to comfortably share what’s on your mind, you may want to find a new gynecologist. Two-way, open, and honest communication is the foundation for all patient-provider relationships.
We are here to help you at any point along your health journey. Partner with us if you’re ready to start feeling whole.