What does a gynecologist checkup consist of, and how can you prepare for your gynecological exam?
Routine visits to your gynecologist are about more than just your sexual health. Women in the U.S. receive a free annual check-up because visiting your gynecologist is an integral part of your comprehensive preventative healthcare.
These visits help to catch health problems from their earliest stages of development. Regularly talking to your doctor about your health questions builds trust and empowers you to better understand your body.
If you’re wondering what to expect, we’ve got answers. Let’s look at the question, “What does a gynecologist checkup consist of, and how can I prepare myself?”
Dr. Lona Sasser and Dr. Mary Squire-De Leon are highly skilled gynecologists in Coral Springs, Florida, who offer various gynecological services for patients of all ages.
What does a gynecologist checkup consist of?
While thinking about visiting your gynecologist may raise images of pelvic exams and Pap smears, your gynecologist checkup is much more comprehensive. It takes a look at your overall physical and mental well-being. So, what does a gynecologist checkup consist of?
First, you will talk with your doctor about your lifestyle, medical history, and any sources of stress in your life. This will help your doctor get a big picture of your well-being that can help determine the best care for you.
You might discuss topics such as:
- Your menstruation
- Your sexual activity
- Your needs for contraception
- Pregnancy planning
- Your exercise habits
- Your alcohol, smoking, and drug use
- Whether you have safe and secure housing
- If you feel safe at home
- What you do for work
- Whether you are a caregiver and whether you have support
- Other sources of stress and anxiety in your life
- Diseases or conditions that run in your family
- Healthy aging and menopause
When asking, “What does a gynecologist checkup consist of,” you may not be thinking about having a conversation. But talking to your doctor is more than just getting information for your file.
Getting to know each other builds trust over time, making you feel safer and more empowered as a patient. Plus, a doctor who knows you well may be better able to catch changes in your health before they get serious.
Your gynecologist check-up is also an excellent time to bring your questions to your healthcare provider. If you are experiencing symptoms, bring that up. Your doctor may recommend tests or a physical exam.
Gynecological physical exams
What does a gynecologist checkup consist of when it comes to physical exams?
Depending on your age, health history, and any symptoms you may be experiencing, your doctor might recommend a physical exam. These exams could include a pelvic or breast exam or a cervical cancer screening (that Pap smear we mentioned).
In a pelvic exam, your gynecologist may examine your reproductive organs (vulva, vagina, and cervix). Your doctor may also check internal organs (uterus and ovaries) as well. In this case, they will put two gloved fingers into your vagina, pushing their fingers up toward your cervix and pressing on your abdomen from the outside.
In a Pap test for cervical cancer screening, cells are gently scraped from the cervix and sent to a lab for testing. Your doctor may suggest a Pap smear if you are due for screening.
In a clinical breast exam, your doctor will look for signs of lumps or changes in your breasts.
Discussing your well-being with your doctor
When considering the question, “What does a gynecologist checkup consist of?” the answer depends on you, the patient.
Make an appointment with a practice that offers an array of services. This way, you can build trust with a doctor with comprehensive knowledge of the care you need. Your gynecologist can refer you to specialists they trust if you require additional care. Make an appointment with Dr. Lona Sasser, Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Photo by Antoni Shkraba