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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Last week I went to my gynecologist for a routine check-up and noticed something quite odd: out of the five young women that were sitting in the waiting room to be checked, four were being accompanied by either their mother or a friend. The only one alone? Me.

This got me thinking. The first time I went to my doctor’s office I went alone. I wondered why girls my age still had to go with someone by their side. I’ve always heard of women feeling uncomfortable about visiting the gynecologist, but what exactly is so scary about this experience? Is it because a stranger has to look at your intimate areas? The inevitable question, “Are you sexually active?” The truth is that visiting a gynecologist can cause fear and anxiety for a lot of women. There’s no need to be scared about your first gynecological visit, though, no matter what it entails.



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Sheila, 21, concluded that the scare factor of going to the gynecologist has a lot to do with our culture. “I believe that, especially in Latin American countries, us, women, are conditioned to feel shyness over our bodies, and the thought of someone staring so closely at this area, makes us feel uncomfortable”, said the journalism major, who waited until she was 19 to visit the gynecologist for the first time. For other women like Valeria, this experience is no big deal. “It was interesting, but nothing out of the ordinary”, said the 20-year-old, who’s been visiting her gynecologist since she was 18, admitting that she believes most women are afraid of going for the first time because “they may feel intimidated.”

Some women schedule appointments to get a quick check-up but eventually neglect to come back to the gynecologist. “I went as a kid because I had a rash. It was horrible because it hurt a lot”, said Tamara, who went for the first time and last time when she was 10. No wonder some women feel self-conscious about their first time visiting the gynecologist, it can be a sticky situation. Even women who reach their 20’s have never visited the gynecologist, and this is Edith’s case. “I never felt the need to go, and now that I can, I don’t want to because I’m afraid. I don’t want him looking there.”

The concerning matter here is that, because of this fear, some women keep leaving this appointment for when they think it’s necessary or they feel something is wrong when, in reality, gynecologists not only search the genital area, they also feel other body parts like the breasts and bladder for different types of diseases or conditions.  Ultimately, although it is a very personal decision, the gynecologist is just like any other doctor, whom every woman has the right and need to visit at least once a year to ensure a healthy life and reproductive system. Going to the gynecologist is something that every woman should do.

There are many reasons why you should visit the gynecologist!

  1. Have your Pap Smear done! Pap smears can detect if there are any pre-cancerous or cancerous processes in your reproductive system;
  2. Make sure your ovulating well so you can have your period and, eventually, children (if that’s what you want!);
  3. Check if you have any rare breast tissue that could be cancerous;
  4. Check if you have any cysts on your ovaries;
  5. Know your best options for contraception like the pill, the patch, the shot or the vaginal ring;
  6. Know if your uterus is positioned correctly and the way it affects your possibilities of having children;
  7. Check if your hormone levels are okay;
  8. Help to diagnose uterine/vaginal/and general reproductive health disorders.
  9. Take care of vaginal infections like a UTI!



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Finally, even if you don’t identify with she/her pronouns, but are an “assigned-at-birth female,” you should definitely get checked out! It’s super important to make sure you’re all right.

Suzzette Martinez Malavet is a senior at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras studying Information and Journalism. She loves photography, shoes, fashion, social media, traveling and exercising outdoors. She has interned at the Capitol of Puerto Rico, Diálogo Digital, Wapa TV, Telemundo Network, U.S. Census Bureau's Center for New Media and Promotions and the Corporate Communication/Sales & Marketing Department of the U.S. Mint in DC, but her proudest accomplishment was in Spring 2013 when she founded the very first HC Chapter in Puerto Rico, Her Campus UPR. Suzzette is currently the Chapter Advisor of Her Campus American University, Marymount, William & Mary, and GW. She is also a returning intern this semester at the U.S. Census Bureau's Center for New Media and Promotions. This 22-year-old woman is the most career-driven individual you will ever meet. If you want to know a little more about her...if you want to know what makes her tick and what inspires her the most...Unlock the mystery by reading some of her awesome articles!