DO ask to get a urine test for STDs as soon as you have sex.
Most gynecologists will test you for the most common STIs and STDs without you having to specifically ask. However, it never hurts to gently remind your doctor that you definitely would like a urine test. Why do you need a urine test in addition to a pap test? Dr. Gottfried explains, “Some STDs, like Chlamydia are ‘silent,’ meaning they have no symptoms and you don’t need a pap test for them. This is one reason why the urine test is really important.”
DO follow up on your test results one week after the appointment if you have not heard back.
It is always best to be proactive, so if you haven’t heard back after a week, then it’s time to call the office! Doctors’ offices are usually pretty busy (think of all the patients they deal with on a daily basis), so the memo to deliver your test results might have been lost in the daily shuffle. Be persistent and follow up – your gynecologist will appreciate the dedication you show for your own health.
DON’T lie about your social habits or any health information.
If you’ve found an OBGYN that you are comfortable with, then this shouldn’t be a problem. However, remember that lying is only going to hurt you in the long run. Be honest, be open, and don’t worry about what your doctor might think. They deal with hundreds of patients each week and have heard it all, so the gynecology office will be a judgment-free zone.
Dr. Gottfried has these wise words to share with all collegiettes: “You want to be totally honest with your doctors and your financial planners.” Since this article is all about seeing a gynecologist, we are going to focus on what could hypothetically happen if you aren’t 100 percent honest. Dr. Gottfried shares, “If you are addicted to meth and don’t tell your doctor, we may prescribe a dangerous medication for you. If you’ve had sex with ten people and say you’re a virgin, you could have a silent infection, like chlamydia, not know it, and lose your opportunity to treat it completely. Untreated chlamydia can cause many problems from chronic pain to infertility.”
Be honest and in the end you will only help yourself. Why risk taking a potentially dangerous medication or leaving an STD undetected? Your gynecologist has seen and heard it all, so don’t be afraid to open up and reveal anything that might help your doctor to better assess your sexual health.
DON'T have sex the night before your appointment.
Not only does this make things let’s just say a little bit messier for your doctor and potentially more painful for you, but it can also skew the results of your pap smear. Gottfried explains, “First of all, having sex the night before is a bit gross for the examiner. Secondly, the friction, bumping around and semen can potentially change the results of your pap.” You only see the gynecologist (hopefully!) at your annual visit, so you want your results to be as accurate as possible. Save the sex for another night and focus on your personal health the night before.
DON’T use yeast medications, spermicides, or douches 24 hours in advance.
To begin, douching is something that women should never do. Dr. Gottfried emphasizes, “DO NOT EVER douche. Your vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. When you douche, you might send all those vaginal bacteria up into your uterus and out your tubes into your belly, which is not good!” Not only will it negatively affect the routine tests, but it just isn’t good for your body.
Yeast medications and spermicides, on the other hand, are okay to use. However, they should be avoided during the 24 hours before your appointment. Dr. Gottfried explains, “If your vagina is full of yeast medication or spermicide, how are we supposed to get a good sample of your delicate cervix cells?” Any foreign substances just make your doctor’s job more difficult and can lower the effectiveness of the various routine exams.
When the time comes to schedule your next gynecology appointment, keep these dos and don’ts in mind. Make this the most effective, efficient, and healthful annual check-up yet. Make sure you show up prepared, informed, and willing to ask questions. You now have the knowledge to be a pro when it comes to seeing your gynecologist and to make every minute of your appointment count