Writer Julie Zeglen asks basic questions of two gynecologists.
Remember your first visit to the gynecologist’s office? Maybe you’d rather not. Wearing that oh-so-flattering one-sided robe, sticking your feet in those cold, metal “stirrups” – as if you wanted a reason to think of yourself as a horse – and squirming through the vague but personal details of your hookup history for a complete stranger’s edification…
Maybe we can’t all be as witty as Juno when addressing the phrase “sexually active,” but we can prepare ourselves to make the best of a potentially awkward experience. Sexual health is as important to your well-being as that of the rest of your body, and seeing a doctor can help keep you in tip-top shape.
Resident gynecologists Dr. Aiga Charles and Dr. Srijaya Nalla of Crozer Chester Medical Center in Upland, PA answer some basic questions to optimize your sexual health knowledge.
M.L.T.S.: When should women begin seeing a gynecologist, and how often after that should they go?
Dr. Charles: The first visit to the gynecologist should be around age 13-15. Typically this is only an interview, not including an exam, and is purely for information sake. Subsequent visits depend on whether or not she is sexually active, if yes, then she should be seen yearly, if not and she has not complaints regarding abnormal bleeding, then she does not need to be seen until age 21 at which time she would need a pap smear.
Dr. Nalla: The first visit should take place between ages 13-15, for an age appropriate discussion of pubertal development, menses, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, substance abuse and overall healthy habits. Typically they should go every year, but as needed if they have any concerns, and especially [if they are] being tested for STIs or need birth control, etc. Continue reading