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How to Master a Visit to the Gynecologist

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This guide is part of a series that includes confessions from real women and advice from real physicians that can help you prepare for your very own date with the doctor.

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Your feet are in stirrups, and there is a doctor standing in front of you asking you to summon up the details of your sex life. You can’t remember the dates of your last few periods, and the scant gown that the nurse gave you to cover yourself is slipping. Does this sound like your annual checkup?

It can be unnerving, and it is easy to put it off. However, with a little advice and preparation, going to see your gynecologist can be a rewarding experience. So, if counting the ceiling tiles and waiting for your visit to be over isn’t working for you anymore, following these tips can help you make your next visit with the doctor an empowering one.
Remember that it’s natural to be a little anxious about your check-up, no matter how many times you have gone before or, in 21-year-old nursing student Britney’s case, how familiar you are with the process. She is completing her clinical at a local health department, where women’s exams are given often. She confessed that although she has never had one herself, watching other women get their exams as a nursing student makes her a little apprehensive. “I wonder, ‘Is it going to hurt?’ From what I’ve seen it kind of scares me, too,” she says. “But it’s over pretty quickly.”

Angie, a 43-year-old entrepreneur, echoed similar sentiments when she revealed that she hadn’t gone to doctor in two years. One reason she had been putting off her appointment was the fact that she simply couldn’t afford to foot the bill because she is self-employed. However, she also shared that she was in no rush to get her exams because they’re uncomfortable. “It’s just the thought of walking through the door and getting on the table,” she explains.

There’s no magic formula that will make these visits to the doctor a pleasant experience.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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