Gynecological Routine Exams
Annual Gynecological Exam
In order to maintain good reproductive and sexual health, females should visit a gynecologist- a doctor who specializes in females’ reproductive health- for an exam about once per year. Generally, females should begin seeing a gynecologist at the age of 21, but begin earlier if they become sexually active. After their first visit, females ages 21 to 29 should visit their gynecologist annually to get a pap smear. Females between the ages of 30 to 64 should generally visit every other year.1 Other reasons to visit a gynecologist include seeking treatment for irregular periods, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and vaginal infections. Females who are sexually active or are considering becoming sexually active can visit a gynecologist to learn more about contraceptive methods.
During each exam, the gynecologist typically asks about the female’s sexual history and menstrual cycle. The gynecologist also physically examines the female’s breasts and genitals. Understandably, a visit of this nature can cause some females discomfort. However, periodic gynecological exams are crucial to sexual and reproductive health and should not be skipped. The patient’s anxiety can be significantly decreased if she knows what to expect from the visit. Prepared with the knowledge of what actually occurs during an annual exam, females often find that it can be a straightforward and rewarding experience.