Your First Gynecologic Visit
Gynecology is the specialty of medicine that deals with women’s healthcare. It focuses on the female reproductive system, including the uterus, vagina and ovaries. Many young women are unsure or nervous about their first gynecologic visit, but it is a simple, important and necessary step to a healthy lifestyle. Your first visit should occur sometime between the ages of 13 and 15, and may be as simple as talking to your gynecologist so that the two of you can get a better understanding of your needs. You may be asked some personal questions about your health, menstrual cycle and sexual activities, and it is important that you answer honestly. If you are worried about what may have to be disclosed to your parents, discuss those worries with us first, and we will explain what will be confidential and what would have to be disclosed. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you may also need to undergo a number of exams or tests, including a physical exam, breast exam, pelvic exam and pap test. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us, or talk to someone who you trust and are comfortable with about what to expect.
Your Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the woman’s bodily preparation for pregnancy. During the beginning of the menstrual cycle, an egg is developed in the ovaries, and the lining of the uterus grows. About halfway through the cycle, the egg emerges from the ovary – this is referred to as ovulation. For the rest of the menstrual cycle, the egg travels down a fallopian tube. If it is fertilized, then it will develop into a fetus; if not, it will be absorbed back into the body or dissolve. Afterwards, the uterine lining is passed out of the body through the vagina.
Menstrual problems, such as the absence of periods (amenorrhea), overly painful periods (dysmenorrheal), excessively heavy or long periods (menorrhagia), and excessively light or infrequent periods (oligomenorrhea), should be treated by a medical professional, as many effective treatment methods exist for these conditions.