The more you know what you will face at the gynecological examination, the calmer you will feel.
Part 1 of 4: Preparing for Examination
Step 1. Schedule a meeting
Regular appointments should be scheduled between menstrual periods. The doctor will not be able to do a full examination if on that day you are menstruating.
- If you have an emergency, tell the doctor. Make an appointment as soon as the doctor's schedule is empty. Continue with the medical care you need.
- If this is your first time having a gynecological examination, please tell this to the person who keeps track of your appointment with the doctor. They may need to schedule a different meeting to discuss your medical record in advance, and accommodate the special needs of women who are being examined for the first time.
- Routine gynecological examinations can be done by general practitioners (and they usually do). You don't need to go to an ob-gyn, unless your general practitioner suspects a more severe condition and requires a medical professional with more specialized training to diagnose it.
- It's a good idea to have your first gynecological exam in your early 20s or three years after starting sexual activity. Recommendations vary from place to place, as this guide is flexible. So if you are in doubt, ask your doctor, at what age should you have your first complete examination.
- Be aware that a young woman who is sexually active and has problems with her menstrual cycle, or has not had her first period at the age of 16, should have regular gynecological examinations.
Step 2. Shower as usual
Take a shower maximum 24 hours before your appointment, and don't use products that you don't normally use.
- Do not have sexual intercourse within 24 hours before the examination. Irritation from sexual activity can make some test results difficult to interpret.
- Do not use products for the feminine area before the examination. Do not douche (rinse the vagina with a special liquid) or use deodorants, sprays, or special creams for the feminine area within 24 hours before the examination.
- Dress properly. Remember, later you have to undress. So do not wear clothes that are difficult to open and wear again.
Step 3. Invite a friend
If this makes you feel more comfortable, bring a family member, such as your mother or sister, or even a friend.
Family members can wait in the waiting room or take the entire examination with you
Step 4. Prepare questions
This is your chance to ask anything about sexual and reproductive health, including family planning, safe sex practices, sexually transmitted diseases, changes to your body, and what you will face in the future.
Part 2 of 4: Discussing Medical History
Step 1. You will be asked about your general medical history
Answer clearly and honestly. Your doctor should get as much information as possible to effectively treat the problem at hand, and work with you to prevent future complications.
- Some doctors will ask you to answer questions about your medical history by filling out a form. While others may do so by direct question-and-answer.
- Be prepared to discuss your sexual history. The doctor must know whether you are sexually active. He or she may ask about breast, stomach, vaginal, or sexual issues that you don't think are normal, including cases of sexual exploitation or sexual harassment.
- The doctor will also ask about the contraceptives you use now and before.
Step 2. You will also be asked about your menstrual period
Remember the first date of your most recent menstrual period to tell your doctor or nurse, and at what age you had your first period. They will also ask at what age your breasts started to grow.
- The doctor will ask if your menstrual cycle is regular, for example every 28 days; how long is the time; and whether you have problems with your period, such as cramps.
- The doctor will ask if there are episodes of spotting or bleeding between periods. They will also ask how much bleeding you have during your period. You can usually answer this by telling them how many pads or tampons to use, especially in the first 48 hours of your cycle.
Step 3. Provide information about all the problems you have
These problems include vaginal discharge, unpleasant odor, itching in the vaginal area, unusual pain or discomfort in the abdominal or vaginal area, pain during sexual intercourse, and changes, pain or problems in the breasts.
- You can get an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) test if you or your doctor have any concerns about it. You can do a urine test to detect chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, and a blood test for HIV, herpes, and/or syphilis.
- There's nothing wrong with getting an STI test if you suspect something, because there are already effective treatments if you have an infection. After all, early treatment will help prevent long-term complications. For example, treating chlamydia and/or gonorrhea early will prevent the development of pelvic inflammatory disease in the future. Infections that have been left untreated for a long time can lead to other complications, such as fertility problems or the development of chronic pelvic pain.
Step 4. Tell your doctor if you think you are pregnant
Urine or laboratory tests will be done first to confirm pregnancy. If you are indeed pregnant, the doctor will help arrange prenatal care until delivery.
Part 3 of 4: Undergoing Examination
Step 1. Ask the doctor to explain the procedure
Some parts of the examination will make you feel awkward. Chatting with your doctor during the exam will help you feel more relaxed. Ask the doctor what he or she is doing at the time.
- If you are seen by a male doctor, there will usually be a female nurse accompanying you throughout the examination. If not available, ask a nurse to be present.
- The external area will be checked first, then an internal inspection will be carried out. External areas to be examined include the clitoris, labia, vaginal opening, and rectum.
- An internal examination will be performed using a speculum to check the vaginal canal, cervix, perform a Pap smear, and take tissue samples if needed. A digital examination will be performed to check the uterus (womb) and ovaries (ovaries).
- This entire check will only last for a few minutes.
Step 2. Take off your clothes
After the routine tests and medical questions are completed, you will be given a hospital gown and asked to change. Remove all clothing, including panties and bras, unless the nurse tells you not to.
Step 3. Put on a hospital gown
Clothes used for gynecological examinations will open at the front, to facilitate breast examination.
Usually this hospital gown is made of paper. There is an additional paper cover that extends up to the thigh
Step 4. Get ready for a breast exam
This check will be carried out first. The breast will be examined in a circular and linear motion.
- The doctor will examine the breast tissue that extends to the armpit area. He or she will also examine the nipples for any abnormalities.
- Breast examination is done to check for lumps or abnormalities. If you feel any pain during this procedure, tell your doctor.
Step 5. Shift to the end of the table
You must position yourself so that your feet fit in the space provided.
The position of the legs will be open to facilitate further examination. Relax your legs and leave them open
Step 6. You will undergo an external examination
An external examination is done to see if there are signs of irritation, infection, or abnormalities in the tissues around the vagina and urethra, which is the passageway for urine from the bladder.
These areas and tissues will be observed and touched to examine them more thoroughly. For example, if the labia appear red or inflamed, the doctor will likely examine them further and see if there are any abnormalities
Step 7. You will feel pressure from the speculum
Next, the doctor will insert an instrument called a speculum. The speculum can be made of plastic or metal. The metal speculum will feel cool when inserted.
- This device will be inserted into the vagina and will be opened gradually to facilitate examination of the vaginal canal and cervix.
- This test will give you a feeling of pressure, but it shouldn't be painful. If you feel sick, tell your doctor. Speculums come in several sizes, so the doctor may try another speculum if the first one is painful.
Step 8. Know what a Pap test is
After the doctor examines the cervix and vaginal canal, he or she will insert a swab or small brush through the opening of the speculum. This tool will take a sample of cells from the cervix. This test is called a Pap test and is not recommended before the age of 21.
- The sample taken will be sent to a laboratory and examined, whether there are cells that look abnormal or have the potential to be cancerous. Most women get normal Pap test results.
- Generally you will be notified of the results of the Pap smear test within 10 to 14 days.
- If you have problems, your doctor will take additional samples to be examined by the laboratory.
Step 9. Understand digital checks
At the next examination, the doctor will insert one or two fingers into the vagina while pressing your stomach.
This method is intended so that the doctor can feel for lumps or abnormalities around the ovaries and female organs, including the cervix, fallopian tubes, and uterus
Step 10. Talk to your doctor before you go home
After the inspection is complete, you should return to changing clothes. The nurse will accompany you to the doctor's office or to the consultation room, or the doctor will present the results of your examination on the spot.
The doctor will explain the results of the examination and answer any questions you still have. He or she will also give you a written prescription that you may need, such as a prescription for birth control pills
Part 4 of 4: Further Treatment
Step 1. Ask your doctor when you can see him again
Tests such as the Pap smear are generally done every two years. But for those of you just starting out, get a Pap test every year to establish a healthy base. Ask your doctor when you should come back for a routine check-up.
You need to know, if there are abnormal results on the Pap test (or in any other part of the breast or reproductive organ examination), the doctor will ask you to come sooner and do further treatment or additional tests
Step 2. See a doctor immediately if you have problems
If you have complaints such as abdominal pain, vaginal discharge or discharge, a burning sensation, an unusual or pungent odor, severe menstrual cramps, or spotting between periods, you should immediately see a doctor.
- You can also go to your doctor immediately if you have questions about reproductive problems, such as wanting to start taking birth control pills, questions about safe sex and/or sexually transmitted infections, or questions about pregnancy.
- Once you are sexually active, your doctor can guide you in choosing the best contraceptive method for you, including prescription products that your doctor can prescribe. He will also help monitor its use.
- Common forms of contraception include oral contraceptives or the pill; KB patch; inject; condom; and devices that are inserted into the vagina, such as diaphragms and IUDs (intra-uterine devices).
- Remember that doctors are trained to provide women with the information they need so that they can make the best choices regarding reproductive health. So the doctor will always be willing to see you and give advice, even if you just want to ask about sexual health and not do a routine checkup.
Step 3. Perform a breast self-examination at home
Your doctor will show you how to examine your breasts to look for lumps that may have the potential for cancer or other diseases. Have these checkups regularly and tell your doctor right away if you feel a lump or small lump in the breast tissue.
- Be honest with the doctor, even if it feels embarrassing. The information you provide about what is painful or bothersome, including in terms of sexual activity, will help your doctor find the best treatment option for you.
- Anticipate the possibility that your doctor is a man. But also realize that he must have done this kind of inspection many times. A female nurse will accompany you in the room throughout the examination. If you don't want to be seen by a male doctor, mention this when making your clinic/hospital appointment.
- Don't be afraid to ask. It's time to see a doctor, so ignore any embarrassment or awkwardness, and just ask everything you want to know.
- This examination may cause spotting of bleeding and it is recommended that you carry a pad or other similar product with you.