It’s that time of the year. For many of us, going to our Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN) is akin to that time of the month. It’s not exactly something we look forward to. We dread the stirrups. We see the necessity of the cervical clamp, but don’t particularly enjoy its purpose.
Beyond that, Glamour reports a study on what some women do to prepare beforehand. There’s waxing and shaving and what to wear that day and what undies will be best. According to their study, one in 10 women even spend all the dollars on a bikini wax or Brazilian.
“Truth be told, most gynecologists have seen and heard everything, so there’s no reason to worry about your appearance…(or ask questions like) ‘where should I put my underwear?,’” the article reads. “All you need to worry about is making sure you go every year.”
But for the sake of clarity, I thought it might be fun for all of us to discuss some of these things, to answer some of those goofy questions, so that you do, in fact, feel comfortable about going to your well-visits. Why? Because they are that important. You are that important.
#1: Where should you put your underwear?
There’s really no right answer to this question, yet four out of five women report that they hide them. First of all, my question is where? Where are you hiding your panties? And why? Chances are you made a conscious decision on which underwear to put on that day (more on that later) so own it. We don’t care if you’re sporting grannie panties or the hippest thong on the planet. We just want to see you walk through the door.
#2: Do I need to shave before my well-visit?
This is where you hit the easy button. Just go about your day and do whatever you normally do to keep your lady parts in their natural habitat. You don’t need to spend money on a special spa appointment or worry if you missed a spot shaving. In fact, it’s probably better that you do whatever you normally do for the sake of transparency.
#3: Am I being judged about my sexual history?
Absolutely not. This is a topic I find myself getting incredibly passionate about because it’s so important. It’s so important for you to be honest, upfront, and thorough with exactly what your sexual history is so that we can do our job. It’s imperative for us to know everything because it affects everything about how we serve you.
#4: Why do we have to do this anyway?
Most well-visits are considered preventative care. Digging a little deeper into what that actually means for a woman’s overall physical well-being is summed up into one word: prevention. Showing up for annual OB/GYN well-visits is imperative for our care to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s an opportunity for us to reduce morbidity rates among a whole host of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke. And yes, it’s your best bet to make sure your reproductive health is in order.
#5: How often should I have a well-visit?
The suggested frequency according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is annual. That being said, OB/GYNs who are passionate about what they do know it’s part of the job to counsel women through issues as they come up. Your goal is to find someone you are incredibly comfortable with, and establish a relationship with them in which you can (and should) reach out to them with any issues or concerns you have about everything going on down under.
Ultimately going to the OB/GYN can be something you look forward to instead of something you dread. What other questions do you have? What makes you feel nervous about well-visits? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – I am happy to help!