This post will include the simple steps of a gyno visit. I made a list just to show how easy it is. Also, I know some of you may look at these posts and think “wow everyone knows this” but that is exactly why I’m writing this blog because you are wrong. A lot of people do not get this sexual education through school or their parents. So just read along and support and knowledge the people who may not be as fortunate as you!! Like I said before I want this conversation to be heard.
Ok here are the steps!! Please note these are the basic steps for an annual exam. Each exam is different depending on what you are getting tested for. Before every annual you will be asked to pee in a cup and leave it in the bathroom to get tested as well. That part is by yourself and they always have instructions in the bathroom.
An annual exam is a once- a- year visit to your gyno for a vaginal exam, breast exam, and over all health exam.
- A nurse will escort you into a doctors room where you will sit on the comfy big chair covered in a plastic wrap because of sanitary reasons. She will then ask you some questions like when was your last period, what brought you in today, medical history, etc.
- After the nurse jots down your responses she will walk out the room and give you a couple minutes to get undressed before the doctor comes in.
- Once she has left you proceed to take off all your clothes for the exam. I keep my socks on because I feel weird going sock-less.
- You then put on the gown, robe, etc that they have left for you in the room and wait for the doctor. She will knock before entering.
- After you greet the doctor and discuss what brought you in, you lean back on the chair and prop your feet up on these metal things. At this point you are laying back with your legs open.
- The doctor will then exam your vagina by inserting this tool called a speculum, which basically just opens up your vagina very slowly and carefully, so the doctor can see what is going on and test. They may use some gel to soften this process.
- Swabs are then taken from the cervix, (the cervix is where bacteria, cancer, HPV, infection, etc can grow inside the vagina)
- After the swabs are quickly inserted the doctor will remove the speculum and you are all done!! It helps to take some deep breaths when the speculum is going in and out.
- In an annual exam, the doctor will also give a breast exam and feel your lower belly for anything weird.
- The swabs are then put into little containers and sent off to the lab!! Results then typically take 2-3 days.
This is the standard process for an annual exam. You can go to the gyno more than once a year, you can go whenever something is off down there. There are also some STDS that can not be tested through swabs and you will need blood work done. Next post I will discuss how different stds and infections are tested.
P.S a pap smear is also done during an annual exam but you are supposed to be 21 when you get one. This is a sticky situation because a pap smear is what tests for HPV. HPV is what my mom had and what turned into cervical cancer. So, I got a pap smear when I was 18 because my gyno wanted to start testing early. The reason they do not usually test for this before 21 is because almost 80% of sexually active adults have HPV but do not know it or it goes away on its own. When you are young the virus will fight itself off. HPV (Human papillomavirus) is a viral infection that is passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. HPV can cause genital warts and changes to the cells in the vagina. If these cells become abnormal this is when it can turn into cervical cancer. There are more than 100 varieties of HPV, which makes it extremely easy to get.
Good news is that there is a HPV vaccine that can prevent most genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer. So if you are sexually active go get the shot and keep up with your annual visits!!