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    Old 01-13-2007, 10:43 PM   #1
    WeirdGirl
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    First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    I'm 24 and have never seen a gynecologist. I'm a very self-conscious person and get embarrassed easily. I'm also very shy. I'm not proud of this I must say but it's been hard to change - that's just how my personality is. Anyway, since I was 19, I've started to have a lot of body changes. I started growing hair in parts of my body that I hadn't grown through puberty(more hair on my upper lip, a few on my chin, hair around my nipples, thigh hair became thicker, hair below my belly button). The pores on my face started getting bigger too. Finally, I started getting horrible cramps (lasting 15 mins each) usually in intervals two weeks before I'd get my period (sometimes up to 10-15 times a day and sometimes just twice a day). It was worse whenever I was "turned on" but it would also hurt other times like when I exercise. I kept telling myself to go to the gynecologist (I thought I had anything from PCOS to Endometriosis) but I kept chickening out. 5 years later, I'm sick of how I look (with the pores, excess hair, etc) and I'm even more sick of the cramps. Sometimes it's so bad that my legs get weak and I can't even walk. I get bad back aches with the cramps too. I am just sick of the pain and worried that they(cysts if that's what I have) could become cancerous (if not already) so I am definitely going to set up an appointment with the gynecologist ASAP.

    So, my first question is - do women usually "clean up" for these exams. I mean such as shaving the area around the vagina/anal area? I'm abnormally hairy there and around the anal area too. Also, for the breast part of the exam - should I shave there? Oh this is so embarrassing. I'm so glad I found this forum rather than asking people this face to face...

    Second question is - do gynecologists also check your hormones? I think I have abnormal hormones since I have so many male characteristics with the hair and large pores.

    Third question - Are you completely naked for this exam or will you be wearing a medical gown while on the table? Is the room super bright?

    Fourth question - Does anyone have any of my symptoms and/or have any idea what it might be?

    Fifth and final question - Can someone describe what goes on exactly in the exam? I've read some posts on here that describe it vaguely but I'd like time frames and more details if possible. Like how long does the whole appointment usually take? How long are they down there feeling you and stuff?

    Thanks so much for anyone who replies.

    Last edited by WeirdGirl; 01-14-2007 at 06:02 AM.

     
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    Old 01-13-2007, 11:27 PM   #2
    canadadiva
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    Re: First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WeirdGirl View Post
    I'm 24 and have never seen a gynecologist. I'm a very self-conscious person and get embarrassed easily. I'm also very shy. I'm not proud of this I must say but it's been hard to change - that's just how my personality is. Anyway, since I was 19, I've started to have a lot of body changes. I started growing hair in parts of my body that I hadn't grown through puberty(more hair on my upper lip, a few on my chin, hair around my nipples, thigh hair became thicker, hair below my belly button). The pores on my face started getting bigger too. Finally, I started getting horrible cramps (lasting 15 mins each) usually in intervals two weeks before I'd get my period (sometimes up to 10-15 times a day and sometimes just twice a day). It was worse whenever I was "turned on" but it would also hurt other times like when I exercise. I kept telling myself to go to the gynecologist (I thought I had anything from PCOS to Endometriosis) but I kept chickening out. 5 years later, I'm sick of how I look (with the pores, excess hair, etc) and I'm even more sick of the cramps. Sometimes it's so bad that my legs get weak and I can't even walk. I get bad back aches with the cramps too. I am just sick of the pain and worried that they could become cancerous (if not already) so I am definitely going to set up an appointment with the gynecologist ASAP.

    So, my first question is - do women usually "clean up" for these exams. I mean such as shaving the area around the vagina/anal area? I'm abnormally hairy there and around the anal area too. Also, for the breast part of the exam - should I shave there? Oh this is so embarrassing. I'm so glad I found this forum rather than asking people this face to face...

    I think that some women "clean up" and some don't. Its good to clean up since the gynecologist will be doing a visual exam of your genitals.

    Second question is - do gynecologists also check your hormones? I think I have abnormal hormones since I have so many male characteristics with the hair and large pores.

    I don't think the gynecologist would check hormones routinely, you could ask him/her about this. You may be referred to an endocrinologist if there is a hormonal concern.

    Third question - Are you completely naked for this exam or will you be wearing a medical gown while on the table? Is the room super bright?

    The lighting is usually bright, and the gynecologist may have a special light for extra lighting. You should be given a gown to wear.

    Fourth question - Does anyone have any of my symptoms and/or have any idea what it might be?

    Sorry, I don't know what you might have. Its good you are going to see a gynecologist to get some answers.

    Fifth and final question - Can someone describe what goes on exactly in the exam? I've read some posts on here that describe it vaguely but I'd like time frames and more details if possible. Like how long does the whole appointment usually take? How long are they down there feeling you and stuff?

    The gynecologists or GP's I have been to for a pelvic usually do a visual exam, insert the speculum to look inside and take a swab for testing: ie: chlammydia, HPV. This is uncomfortable but not painful. If it hurts, the doctor can use a smaller sized speculum (the instrument used to open up your vagina). They may insert a finger into the vagina to feel for abnormal lumps and bumps and to check your uterus. They usually do a breast exam as well, feeling for lumps. You can request that a nurse or assistant be present in the room, if you don't want to be alone with the doc.

    I know it must sound awful, but remember the gynecologist is a professional and sees alot of naked bodies. Its not a pleasant experience, but very necessary. Good luck at your appt.

    Thanks so much for anyone who replies.

     
    Old 01-14-2007, 12:55 AM   #3
    Bernstar75
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    Re: First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    I have the same problem with the hair issue as I have high testorone levels. I did try and remove it but my skin is sensitive and it was kind of a rashy disaster. Anyway I went to see her for irregular bleeding and the gyno automatically wanted to check me for excess body hair to help with diagnosis. Obviously its very common for them even though it is embarrasing for us. By your description I have an even worse hair problem believe me.

    Next time I go I don't think I'd bother with the hair removal because its too much area to cover and in difficult places. The gyno didn't seem fussed by it at all and it helped her give me the right medication.

    But I definitely understand your embarrasment and your desperation to hide it, as I stressed about it for a long time before my appointment. In hinesight there was no need as she had seen it many many times before and didn't judge me and didn't make me feel embarrassed. She knew it was a hormonal problem and not my fault.

    Last edited by Bernstar75; 01-14-2007 at 12:56 AM.

     
    Old 01-14-2007, 06:22 AM   #4
    StenoLady1
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    Re: First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    Try not to be embarrassed. The doctors and staff do this type of thing all day. They've come across all types of personalities and many, many medical issues -- a lot of which are much more eyebrow-raising than a yearly PAP, possible hormonal imbalance and difficult cramps. I'm not trying to make light of your situation; just trying to help you see that if you're a shy type of person, at least you're not making an appointment because you have a vegetable lost in your anus or something, you know? And even if you did, that's cool, too. That's a part of why doctors are there to help us.

    To try to answer your questions:

    1) Some women shave; some don't. I never shaved at all until last year. I'm Italian and hairy Considering part of why you'd like to seek help is because of possible abnormal hair growth, I'd leave the hair the way it is to show the doctor and get some input from a professional. But the choice is yours. You could also just "trim" a bit downstairs and leave the hairs on the breasts as they are, too, so the doc can see exactly what you're talking about.

    2) My gynos never checked my hormones unless something warranted it. In my experience, this wasn't done during the appointment. I always got a prescription for bloodwork after my visit to be done at a local lab during a time that was convenient for me. The results were sent to my gyno (and my family doc, too, as a matter of fact) and then I'd receive a call from my doc's office about the results. Maybe some gyno offices take the blood right there; I don't know. I'm skittish with needles, so I was fine with going to a phlebotomist, someone who sticks folks with needles day in and day out, instead of someone in my gyno's office doing this.

    3) They give you a paper blanket or gown to wear. Listen to the instructions the nurse gives you about what to do with it. Some docs like the opening in the back; others like it in the front; my new doc just uses a paper blanket so there's nothing to remember about where the opening should be. The room itself is like a typical doctor's office, but I'm not going to lie or candy-coat this. When it's time for the speculum, the doc will put a very bright light down there so he/she can see.

    4) I'm sorry, but I don't know what this is. Your doctor will help you, tho.

    5) This answer will vary somewhat. In my experience, the initial visit is the longest. I'd allot maybe an hour from start to finish. Most of it, you will not be "naked." The doctor and/or staff will want to speak with you. This can be done before you're naked and on the table or after. Considering you've got a few troubles, don't rush through this part. Write down or print out your post so you don't forget what's troubling you (cramps, backache, hair growth, pain during orgasm, etc.). You'll also be weighed, height noted, blood pressure taken, you'll be asked what meds you're on, if you smoke/drink, stuff like that.

    Once the discussion/history part is over, you'll be told what to do with the gown and left alone for a bit to change. Then you'll be sitting on a table with paper on it. You'll feel like a sandwich from a deli and will want to know where the pickle is that's supposed to be next to you

    Then there will be a light knock on the door, and the doc and his assistant will come in. The assistant is there to make sure nothing inappropriate happens. She's usually very quiet and just stays in the background. Sometimes the doc will dictate to her and she'll take notes. My docs have always examined my breasts first checking for lumps. This is good, as breast cancer is like 90 percent curable if it's found early. That part takes about 30 to 45 seconds. It might take a minute longer in your case since you're concerned about hair growth there.

    Then the doc will tell you to lie down and will help you to position yourself so he/she can do the internal. The doc will insert a lubed finger or two into your vagina and press around. My new doc then sticks a finger in the butt, too. Not sure why, but I hate that part. A good doc will be talking to you the whole time, either explaining what they're doing or just making small talk with you. Then they'll do the speculum thing. It feels putting in a tampon. Then you'll feel a little tickle way up inside you as he/she takes a little swab of your cells. My doc does this with what looks like a sterile, clean mascara wand.

    From the time you're laying down in "position" until the doc says, "Okay, all done," I'd venture to say is about two minutes.

    Like I said, the majority of your appointment -- especially your first appointment with any new doc -- is going to be spent waiting, going over your history and talking about your current complaints. You will be clothed and/or covered by a gown for this. The actual naked/vulnerable portion is only a few minutes.

    Don't be scared! It's really nothing, and you're going to kick yourself in the butt after for waiting.

     
    Old 01-14-2007, 06:32 AM   #5
    novmom
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    Re: First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    Quote:
    So, my first question is - do women usually "clean up" for these exams. I mean such as shaving the area around the vagina/anal area? I'm abnormally hairy there and around the anal area too. Also, for the breast part of the exam - should I shave there? Oh this is so embarrassing. I'm so glad I found this forum rather than asking people this face to face...
    If you're sexually active, I'd just suggest to refrain from sex 2 or 3 days before your appointment. It can cause abnormal pap results, which would mean you'd have to have another pap. I just make sure I do that and will make sure I shower the day of the appointment. As for shaving.... I'll just shave my legs, bikini area and underarms.

    Quote:
    Second question is - do gynecologists also check your hormones? I think I have abnormal hormones since I have so many male characteristics with the hair and large pores.
    I've never had my hormones tested when I've gone for my annual. If you explain to the doctor your concerns, they may decide to run some tests. I understand how it is to be shy....I usually clam up when I try to explain my problems. Just be strong and let the doc know your worries.

    Quote:
    Third question - Are you completely naked for this exam or will you be wearing a medical gown while on the table? Is the room super bright?
    My doctor I see now, we're given a gown. I'm told put it on backwards so it ties in the front and I just wrap it around myself like a robe. Your to be completely naked underneath it. To do the breast exam you can't have your bra on underneath and of course can't have your underware on for obvious reasons. The light of the room is pretty bright, just like a regular doctor's office room. The doctor usually has an extra light that can be pulled over so they can get a better look down there too.

    Quote:
    Fourth question - Does anyone have any of my symptoms and/or have any idea what it might be?
    Being that you get the pain two weeks before your period. It kind of sounds like your having ovulation pains. But also, it sounds like cyst pain. Maybe it's a mixture of both. If it's cysts your doctor may suggest to put you on birth control to help. It has helped with me tremendously. But I know not all women like to go this route. Before I started them I did NOT want to be on then and then when I got on them for the cysts it was a relief!

    Quote:
    Fifth and final question - Can someone describe what goes on exactly in the exam? I've read some posts on here that describe it vaguely but I'd like time frames and more details if possible. Like how long does the whole appointment usually take? How long are they down there feeling you and stuff?
    Here's a rundown of how it happens at my doctor's office.
    First the nurse calls me in and I have to pee in a cup for her to check my urine. I'm not exactly sure all that they check, but I know one of the things is to check for pregnancy. They then check my weight (at the first appt, they checked my height). We go into the exam room. The nurse checks my blood pressure and takes down any questions that I might have for the doc, writes down any meds I might be on and asks if there has been any changes in my life in the past year. Then I sign a paper for the labwork (for the pap) and fill out my card for when they mail me the results. She then gives me my gown, tells me to undress put on the robe and sit on the exam table and the doctor will be in shortly.

    Once the doctor comes in, we go over my questions and concerns, etc. Then she does the pelvic exam. She does it very quickly and talks you thru it every step of the way. She'll say she's getting ready to insert the speculum, how you'll feel a tiny bit of cramping (while she's doing the swab thing, but it seriously only takes a second) and then she removes the speculum. She then checks my uterus....they usually will have to stick their finger in there and then they will press on your stomache. After that, she does the breast exam and it's done.

    I'd say it takes about a half hour/hour depending on if the doctor is busy or if I have a lot of questions. I also believe the first appointment is the longest because they have to do the history.
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    Old 01-15-2007, 08:51 AM   #6
    WeirdGirl
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    Re: First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    Thanks so much for all your replies everyone. I'm still extremely nervous but I feel better now that I know what to expect.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 01:51 PM   #7
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    Re: First Gynecologist Visit - lots of questions before I go...

    Before answering your quetions I wanted to say that a friend of mine has PCOS and her gyno has helped her significantly.

    Question 1: The very first time I went for a visit I "cleaned up." It helped me feel a little better about the situation. I guess I felt a little more comfortable with myself knowing that I wasn't stubbely! But honestly- the doctor really doesn't care. They've seen it all and they've seen the worst (STDs and such) When I go now, sometimes I shave and sometimes I don't! So that's a judgement call. If you feel you'd be more comfortable shaving- then go for it.

    Question 2: You may have to request that your hormone levels be checked. If you're going in for a regular exam (pap and breast exam) then they won't generally check blood or hormones. If you're going in for something specific, like to see if you have PCOS and so on, then they may. But definitely ask them to anyway.

    Question 3: You undress completely, but they give you a medical gown and a little lap cover thing! The rooms i've been in have been more on the dim side, by no means bright.

    Question 4: As I said, my friend was recently diagnosed with PCOS. She had irregular periods, severe mood swings and cramps. Patches of discoloration on different areas of her body. They were brown patchy areas. She also experienced significant wieght gain that she never connected until her PCOS diagnosis. And the excessive hair growth. (She's also Italian, so it was something she thought was a genetic thing!) Those are the symptoms that I know of.

    Question 5: Well first you wait about 15-30 minutes in the waiting room before even seeing the nurse!! haha. Once your in the examing room, you'll visit with a nurse who takes your wieght, hieght, and blood pressure. She'll ask you about family history (history of breast cancer, cervical cancer, ect.) She'll ask if you're on any medications. After the Question and Answers are done, she'll tell you to underdress and put on the gown. She'll leave the room and give you privacy to unchange. The doctor will knock and enter usually 5-10 minutes after. I believe she'll do the breast exam first. She'll have you lay back and she'll open the gown (wear it to open in the front) and she'll give you a typical breast exam. Its about 1 minute long.. like 30 seconds per boob, if that!! Then you can cover yourself back up. She'll tell you to slide down to the edge of the examining bed/table, and place your feet in the stirrups. She'll tell you to relax and open your legs. She'll use some KY (or some kind of lubricant) so it will feel a little icky. (to me it does) She'll give you a finger exam to feel your uterus and ovaries. She'll push on your abdomen. That's about 2 minutes. Then she'll use the forceps (I think thats what it's called, looks like a duck bill!) She'll insert that into your vagina. It will be uncomfortable and put a little pressure on your abdomen. It may be cold! She'll use that to keep you open while she takes the pap smear, a cotton swab basically. That will also just feel like pressure. Then she'll remove the duck bill thing and you're done! The whole exam, breast exam to vaginal is probably 10 minutes, including some small talk. She'll probably explain what she's doing step by step, as she does it. Tell her that your nervous. She'll understand. Ask any questions at all. And if anything hurts at any time, let her know. Oh also, she will have a light shinning on you down below to give her a better look! But the room itself shouldn't be very brite.

    It's honestly not as horrible as you're probably thinking it will be. It's over relatively quick. If you do get your hormone levels check, im not sure how they do that or how long it takes. You can ask for STD testing as well if you want to. Once the doctor is done, she'll leave so you can get dressed. I always use tissues or a paper towel to wipe off the jelly used! Then you leave and pay your bill!

    Just remember to breath and to relax. It's a few minutes of awkwardness, but worth it in the end.

    Good luck. Take care!!

     
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