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March 22, 2022

What You Need to Know Before Your Next Gynecological Exam

Having a yearly gynecological exam is an important aspect of your overall physical and reproductive well-being.

We know this type of appointment can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first one or if you haven’t had one in a while. If that’s the case for you, it can help to know what to expect before you head into the office.

Here are a few things you should know before your next annual appointment at Lifecycle:

  • All of our providers practice trauma-informed care. What does this mean to you as a client? Very simply, it means that you are in charge of your body. We will not touch you or perform any physical examination unless we have your explicit consent.
  • It’s a misconception that “annual exam” automatically equals “pelvic exam”. Your annual exam is an opportunity to discuss your overall wellness. This includes your menstrual cycle, planning or preventing a pregnancy, sexual health, pelvic floor health, and breast health.
  • There is no “requirement” for a yearly pelvic exam. We will review current recommendations and check in regarding your individual health history and comfort level. We respect your autonomy and will provide professional guidance to help you make an informed decision.
  • Unless you are getting a pap smear or having a problem, we do not need to use a speculum. If a speculum is required for an exam, you have the option to insert it yourself.
  • Depending on your age and your health history, paps are usually recommended every three to five years. Paps are used to screen for early changes to cervical cells and HPV in order to prevent changes leading to cervical cancer.
  • Annual visits can begin during adolescence. At Lifecycle, we see clients as young as age twelve. If you are one of our younger clients, your visit will mostly be informational. We want to help you feel comfortable about coming in for future visits.
  • Annual visits are intended to discuss your overall gynecologic and reproductive wellness. If you have a specific problem or concern, we recommend scheduling a separate Problem Visit to adequately address this with your provider.
  • We offer 30-60 minute appointment windows. This gives you plenty of times to ask questions, and gives us plenty of time to answer them for you! We want you to feel empowered to make informed decisions about your healthcare.

If you are ready to schedule your next annual exam, call our office today at 610.525.6086. We look forward to seeing you!

By Rachel Goldstein, CRNP, Lifecycle WomanCare