Women’s health is very complex, and good health requires annual or semi-annual visits to the gynecologist. Most women will have their first visit with a gynecologist in their mid to late teens, but some women fear this type of doctor and visit, and won’t have their first visit until they are in their early twenties. Are you too scared to see a gynecologist?
What Drives our Fear of the Gynecologist Visit
We are taught from a very early age to keep our privates private. A visit to the gynecologist often makes a woman feel extremely exposed. This is nothing like have a sexual encounter with someone that you know, love, and are attracted to. The gynecologist is almost a complete stranger, and he or she is about to not only see, but touch your most private parts.
If that alone wasn’t enough, there is some level of embarrassment involved for the woman, although a good gynecologist will take his or her time, make conversation, and help you to feel more relaxed. Some women are scared of the gynecologist simply because they don’t know what to expect – but a good gynecologist will explain what is going to happen from the outset of the visit, and will keep you informed as to what he or she is about to do – before it is done – throughout the examination.
Choose the Right Gynecologist
Start by asking your friends for recommendations. Get lots of detailed information about how their gynecologist conducts the examination. Also consider whether you would be more comfortable with a female gynecologist or a male gynecologist. Sometimes, the gender factor alone can greatly reduce your anxiety concerning the visit.
Check with the American Medical Association to see if any complaints have been filed against the gynecologist that you are considering – before the visit. One fear that women have is that a male gynecologist may make sexual advances during the examination. Although this is rare, it does happen – and it does get reported to the AMA.
How to Prepare for a Visit to the Gynecologist
Take a shower right before the examination and make sure that you wash down there. If you are worrying about odor, this should alleviate some of that anxiety. Do not use heavy perfumes or feminine deodorant sprays however.
You can wear a dress or slacks, and of course you should wear underwear. Wear what makes you comfortable to the office, with the understanding that you will be exchanging those clothes for a paper gown. Many gynecologists will do a routine breast examination during the visit as well, so be prepared for this.