Annual exams to the gynecologist are essential for women to maintain good productive and sexual health. Did you know? The cost of gynecological care is an eligible medical expense with your Flexible Spending Account (FSA), so you can use your account for treatment. Discover other covered expenses by searching our FSA Eligibility List, or check in with your FSA administrator about specific medical care.
Timelines and Numbers to get Right for a Gynecology visit:
Begin seeing a gynecologist at the age of 21, or earlier if you become sexually active.
After a first visit, women ages 21 to 29 should visit their gynecologist annually to get a Pap smear. A pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer, eligible for reimbursement with a Flexible Spending Account.
Women ages of 30 to 64 should generally visit every other year.
In addition to regular checkups, you should seek a consultation or treatment for:
- Irregular periods
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Vaginal infections.
- Contraceptive method
How to Prepare for a Gynecologist Exam
- Make appointments between menstrual periods as menstrual fluid can interfere with both examination and lab tests.
- Do not have intercourse or insert anything into the vagina 24 hours before the visit.
- Prepare a list of questions and concerns to ask your gynecologist, including any details regarding vaginal bleeding, discharge, odor, or pain.
- Your gynecologist will ask you question about your menstrual cycle, so it would be good to know the date of your last period and how long your periods typically last.
What to Expect at the Exam
- A nurse will first take down basic measurements not unlike a regular physical examination.
- Before the physical exam begins, your doctor may ask questions about your personal and family medical history, sexual history, contraceptive usage, general health and lifestyle, etc.
- For the physical exam, you will be asked to undress in private and put on a paper or cloth gown given to you.
- You probably won't get an internal pelvic exam where the doctor looks inside your vagina. Instead, he or she will examine your outside genital area and your breasts. The doctor might press on different parts of your breast to feel for lumps indicative of breast cancer.