Gynaecological examinations are often a cause for concern for women who are going for their first gynaecological visit. Well, don’t believe everything you hear: before you get the wrong idea, you need to know what it’s all about.
The purpose of an examination is to prevent any gynaecological disorders, to make sure that your reproductive system is normal and to advise you on contraception if you need it.
On your first gynaecological visit you’ll be asked a series of questions so that your doctor (who would usually be your GP, rather than a gynaecologist as such) can get an idea of your medical history. Here are some of the things you might be asked:
- How old you were when you had your first period.
- How far apart your periods are.
- If your periods are light, average or heavy.
- If you use pads, tampons or both.
- On what day your last period started.
- If you’ve had any sexual relationships.
- If you have, at what age you started, how many partners you’ve had, if you’re in a steady relationship at the moment and what method of contraception you use.
- If you’ve ever been pregnant.
- If there’s any history of serious illness in your family.
- What illnesses, if any, your parents or siblings have had.
- If you have suffered any serious illnesses in general.
- If you’ve ever had an operation.
- If you’re allergic to any medication.
If for any reason you need to have a cervical screening or a manual vaginal examination, here’s what they would involve:
A speculum would be used for the cervical screening, to separate the vaginal walls so that your doctor can see the neck of the womb. The manual vaginal examination is to check that everything is okay with your uterus and ovaries. Your doctor would insert their fingers into your vagina and use their other hand to feel your tummy so that they can feel if there is any increase in size of the uterus or ovaries.
There’s no specific age for your first gynaecologist visit. You should go if you have any gynaecological problems or if you have any concerns or questions you would like to ask.
Afterwards, your doctor will tell you how often you should go for a check-up.