Don’t let an STI or treatable cancer get in the way of enjoying your life and sexuality to the fullest! Get yourself checked! Visit your gynecologist/ health professional today.
It’s normal to feel nervous on the first visit but part of the time is spent conversing with the health care provider! The doctor will ask questions to learn about your health and to get an understanding of the reasons for your visit. The questions will range from the menstrual cycle for female bodied individuals or unusual testicular pain for male bodied individuals,to sexual lifestyle habits. A couple of procedures include but are not limited to: a breast exam, pelvic exam, a Pap test, or a testicular exam. If sexually active, the gynecologist or primary health care provider will recommend getting tested for STIs.
It is important to mention that the pelvic exam and the Pap test are recommended annual procedures beginning at the age of 21, scheduled during the time you are not menstruating. You will be asked to not have vaginal sex or insert anything into the vagina for 24-48 hours before. Also, the Pap test is not always performed during the health exam. If you want to be tested for STI’s at the beginning of your exam it’s important to communicate your desire with the doctor. The breast exam, or self exam on the other hand are encouraged to be performed beginning as early as your 20s for both male and female bodied individuals. After the first visit, it is highly recommended to continue having annual consultations.
The Tang Center at UC Berkeley gladly provides the services of gynecologists and primary care physicians . The visits are covered by SHIP, but depending on the procedure there may be some fees. Don’t have SHIP, or have another insurance? Don’t worry, students without it are warmly welcomed. The Tang Center also provides an overview of the “Annual Women’s Exam” at http://www.uhs.berkeley.edu/home/healthtopics/annualgynexam.shtml.
Let’s keep the health on check. Knowing what to expect at a gynecologist visit will hopefully allow the mind and genitals to feel more comfortable.