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For many women, visiting a gynecologist for the first time for a pelvic exam can provoke a little bit of anxiety. Fortunately, your doctor will be used to seeing patients for the first time and will make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire experience. When you schedule your appointment, make sure you inform the staff that it will be your first pelvic exam, so that your doctor already understands your situation when you come in. Here are some good questions to ask during your exam.

A Gynecologist explaining to a patient about her reproductive system

Do I really need to have a pelvic exam if I am not sexually active?

Being a virgin or not being currently sexually active doesn’t impact your need for preventive care like pelvic exams. In most cases, women should have their first exams when they are 21 or as soon as they become sexually active, but you may need one sooner if you are experiencing symptoms like menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain, and vaginal discharge. If you are a virgin, having a pelvic exam will not affect your hymen in any way.

Will the exam be painful?

Pelvic exams are not normally painful, but sometimes, if you are nervous and tense up, it can be more uncomfortable than usual. Tell your gynecologist if you are feeling anxious, so that he or she can go slowly with the exam. Take deep breaths and relax your muscles as much as possible. Speak up if something feels uncomfortable. Your gynecologist wants to make sure the experience is not painful for you.

What can I do to improve my health?

Your gynecologist is an excellent source of information about a variety of women’s health needs. He or she may recommend ways to reduce your risk of vaginal infections, perform STD testing or treatment, and offer general hygiene advice. He or she can also discuss birth control options with you and help you decide which choice could be the best for you.

Washington Surgi-Clinic is pleased to offer women of all ages comprehensive gynecology services with complete patient confidentiality. To schedule an appointment for a pelvic exam, Pap smear , or any of our other services, please call (202) 659-9403.