I don’t know any women who actually enjoy a trip to the gynecologist, though feelings about settling into the stirrups tend to vary from mild annoyance to extreme anxiety. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, it’s important to make the most of your annual exam. To see my suggestions to do just that
- First of all, make sure you have a doctor that you like. A doctor you're comfortable with can mean the difference between a traumatic experience and an appointment that you don't actually dread going to. If you need to find a new gyno, ask your friends or female coworkers — word-of-mouth recommendations are the very best kind!
- Try to get a morning appointment. It means less of a wait for you, and it’s always nice to go straight from the shower to the table. While there’s absolutely no rule that says you need to be cleaned up before an appointment, for many woman, knowing they're fresh down there is a huge relief.
- Also, when making your appointment, remember to schedule around your period. It’s best to go in during the middle of your cycle, but definitely avoid the week when you expect to be menstruating.
- Know the start date of your most recent period beforehand. This is a great habit to get into for all doctor appointments, but especially at the gynecologist because cervical fluid changes based on your cycle.
- Refrain from having sex without a condom 24 hours prior to your appointment as semen can make a proper pap smear and exam difficult. The same goes for douching, too!
I have even more tips to keep in mind at the next visit to your gynecologist, so stay tuned for part two!