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Overcoming the Fear of Going to the Gynecologist

Individuals with uteruses should go to the gynecologist once they turn 21 for a pap smear, which can be nerve-racking. Especially if you are going for the first time and have no idea what is going to happen. However, there are ways to help overcome this anxiety. While this may sound cliche, empowering yourself is the biggest part of overcoming the fear.

You may not feel in control of this situation, but researching different doctors and talking to your family and friends about what doctor they would recommend makes a whole different experience. For example, if you are more comfortable with a younger, female-presenting gynecologist, you can absolutely find one! In addition, some gynecologists will let you come to their office and chat with you before your appointment to discuss a plan of action. Developing rapport with your provider will make you feel more comfortable, so tell them that you are anxious.

Moreover, if you have experienced trauma, it is important to tell your provider as they cannot disclose that information to anyone else. Of course, if you are comfortable with that! However, usually, providers will accommodate you to make you feel more comfortable and safe in that space. In addition, you can always tell your gynecologist to stop. Remember, this is your body, and you have every right to ensure your comfortability.

Furthermore, if you do not wish to shave or are on your period, remember that both of those things are natural. You do not need to feel ashamed for either of these. Gynecologists do not care at all. However, if your flow is heavy, it may be difficult for them to get actual results. Therefore, it may be best to reschedule in this circumstance.

Getting to know your body more may also help. This may sound ridiculous, but knowing what your body is telling you helps me feel so much better. As someone with anxiety, I always assume the worst. However, as I have started to research more about my body, I feel like I am not going to someone completely blind to knowledge about my own body. In addition, while learning about my body, I think I have also helped myself learn how to relax a bit more. 

Finally, I highly recommend having a close friend come with you. While they may not be in the room with you, having someone to come out to and discuss the experience with makes me feel a lot better. Do not worry that it’s just going to be you and your gynecologist, though. Usually, there is a nurse to help your provider and make you feel more comfortable. Furthermore, you could also go do something with that friend afterward as a reward for overcoming your fear!

If the gynecologist that you had gone to previously makes you uneasy, remember that you do not have to compromise your comfortability. You can always change your provider to find the one that is best for you. Always love your body and treat it like you love it!

Kaitlyn Austin is a senior majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Civil Rights.
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