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Visiting the Gynecologist? Be Prepared

By HERWriter
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Visiting Your Gynecologist? Be Prepared Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Before your next gynecologist appointment, it’s a good idea to be prepared. About 15 percent of women under age 45 see only a gynecologist, according to a recent study in the journal Medical Care. This makes the gynecologist responsible for a host of other health matters.

Want to be ready for your next appointment? The following suggestions may help.

Know what you want to discuss before the exam. List your concerns, questions and any problems you might be having. It's a good idea to write these down.

Know when your last period started, the medications you take, and any other changes in your health since your last visit. And don't overlook family medical records. Your doctor should know if diabetes or heart disease runs in your family.

Know your Pap. More than 80 percent of doctors' offices have adopted liquid-based Paps, according to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and reported on Shape.com. These newer, liquid-based Paps filter out blood and other fluids, which makes cervical cell samples easier to read.

However, if your gynecologist uses conventional Pap smears, you can ensure a more accurate reading by not scheduling your appointment during or right after your period or if you had sex the night before, as the results can then be clouded.

Don't douche or use any other vaginal preparation for at least 24 hours before the appointment. They can mask many vaginal conditions.

Don’t worry about shaving your legs or making sure your pubic area is waxed.

Wear comfortable clothing that you can easily take off. You are allowed to wear socks. They can help you keep warm if the exam room is cold.

Bring up the tough stuff first once you are in the exam room. More than 75 percent of women reported that their visits lasted for 15 minutes or less. So talk about those personal issues right away, to make certain you have adequate time to address what's most important to you.

Don't let embarrassment become a health risk!

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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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