My hippie Mexican mother believed if she didn’t talk about things, those things would never happen. For example, if we didn’t discuss sex, maybe I would remain a virgin. Unfortunately, her lack of communication left me unprepared for my newly found womanhood.
My high school days were the days of Shaun Cassidy and Rick Springfield posters. Twenty years ago, computers were rare and there was no Internet or valuable websites like EmpowHER.com to provide valuable information for young women like me.
Fortunately, I had a network of high school girl friends who loved to openly discuss their bodies and their changes into womanhood. And, when it came to sex, well, I was relegated to "girl conversations" in the locker room.
One of my girlfriends recommended a visit to an OB/GYN to obtain birth control. But in order to obtain birth control, I had to undergo the dreaded woman exam. They joked about the doctor’s cold hands and the non-chic paper robe you’d receive during the pelvic exam.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they recommend young girls (13-15 years of age) make their first appointment to visit to an OB/GYN, also known as an obstetrician-gynecologist. At this age, you may only receive an exterior pelvic exam. However, this will be determined by your health care professional. Also, a visit to a gynecologist at this age prepares a young woman to form a positive future for her sexual and reproductive health.
For the best health care possible, be open and honest with your doctor. Also, it is natural to feel nervous and anxious during your first appointment. Stay calm and remember to take deep breaths.
During the exam, expect the following:
• The examination will require you to undress, temporarily wear a paper robe and lay flat on your back
• Questions about your sexual history and your period
• Breast examination
• Pelvic examination
• Pap smear (based on age and sexual activity)
During the pelvic examination, the doctor will examine the interior and exterior of your vagina area. The exterior examination is painless. But the interior exam may be a bit uncomfortable.