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9 Tips For Handling An Annual Gynecological Exam

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For some women, an annual gynecological exam is a anxiety-inducing experience. However, it is important that you do not miss your exam because it is one of the tools your doctor uses in the early detection of health conditions. If you have an exam coming up, here are some ways you can prepare for it so that you get the most out of it and feel more comfortable. 

  1. Choose the right time for the exam. Ideally, you should not schedule your exam while you are menstruating or immediately after. The blood can affect the results. 
  2. Skip sex before the exam. Sex can inflame vaginal tissues and make it more difficult for your gynecologist to get a decent sample of your cervical cells. For the best results, avoid sex in the 24 hours leading up to your examination.
  3. Do not douche. Douching can wash away some of the cells that your gynecologist needs to collect. If you do decide to douche, avoid doing so in the 24 hours before the exam.
  4. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If you are worried about experiencing pain or cramps during or after the Pap test, take a pain reliever before the exam. 
  5. Remember to breathe. When your breathing becomes erratic, it triggers anxiety. While you are waiting to see your gynecologist, focus on keeping your breathing even and regular. 
  6. Talk to your doctor. He or she needs to know if this is your first exam, whether you have had scary experiences in the past, or if you are experiencing problems. Your doctor can then adjust his or her exam techniques to make you more comfortable.
  7. Ask to raise the exam table. Raising the exam table can help make it easier for your gynecologist to conduct a Pap test. Your organs will move to their natural position. As a result, the exam is completed in a more efficient manner. 
  8. Take notes after the exam. Once the exam is complete, find out what size speculum was used. In the future, if you switch doctors, you can inform the new doctor so that he or she uses a speculum that is comfortable for you.
  9. Change doctors, if necessary. If you feel uncomfortable in your experience with the gynecologist, switch to a new one when it is time for your next exam. If you have a doctor you are comfortable with, you are more likely to make it to your appointments and talk about problems you are experiencing. 

For more information, contact Ogeechee OB-GYN or a similar organization.