Can I Visit The Gynecologist During My Period
It is normal to feel apprehensive before your appointment with one of our gynecologists. You may wonder, Is it ok to go to the gynecologist while on your period? You may also wonder what happens at a gynecology appointment. If you are like many women, you are especially concerned when you notice that your appointment happens to fall on a day when you are having your menstrual cycle. We often hear this question from our patients, Can I go to the gynecologist on my period?
You may be worried about the embarrassment of having an examination while you are bleeding, worried about an odor, or even your hygiene. You may be concerned about the exams. So, Can a gynecologist check you on your period? You may also wonder, Can you get a pap smear on your period?
Don’t Worry About Grooming
And the same is true for grooming. Doctors have literally seen it all, so if you forget to clean up before your appointment, don’t sweat it. “We really don’t care if you wax or shave your legs,” Dr. Ghodsi says. “Same with genital grooming.” You can, however, shave, shower, or trim if it would make you feel better during your appointment.
Facts About Swimming And Menses
Most of the information that you find recommending restricting your physical activity during your period is based on cultural beliefs, taboos, and myths about menstruation. Being in the water while you are menstruating does not put you at an increased risk of infection.
Also, there are no changes in your body during your period that would make you more susceptible to injury while swimming.
Another common fear about swimming in the ocean during your period is the thought that menstrual blood will attract sharks. Although potentially a compelling reason to pass up on a swim, the consensus among shark experts is that people who are menstruating do not attract sharks.
The most important thing to consider when swimming with your period is to be sure that you have adequate protection to control your bleeding.
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Starting Menopause: Ages 45 To 54
The average age of menopause is 50 to 52. At this stage in life, many women are having irregular or heavy periods. Their hormones may be fluctuating, leading to typical menopause symptoms, such as night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes.
Well talk through all those issues at your annual visit and determine next steps. There are many options to treat these symptoms, including:
- Lifestyle changes
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Alternative, complementary approaches, such as meditation and acupuncture
This is also the age when most women should be having regular screenings for a number of other potential issues. Tests like mammograms, bone density screenings and colonoscopies can help women keep a clean bill of health as they get older.
The 2015 American Cancer Society guidelines suggest that women start getting annual mammograms at age 45 instead of age 40. This change is controversial among doctors and patients, so talk with your doctor to determine what youre comfortable with and at what age you should start getting mammograms. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that women start mammograms at age 40.
The other issue at this age is bone health. While a woman is still having her period and producing hormones, estrogen protects the bones. Once a woman stops having her period, the ovaries decrease the amount of estrogen being produced and there is some bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis, which can put you at risk of fracture.
Q Should I Tell You Im Bleeding Or Let You Figure It Out When You Get Down There
A. When the nurse or medical assistant brings youinto the room, Id recommend you let her know youre menstruating. They can putsomething on the exam table to absorb the blood. You can either ask to use therestroom to remove a tampon or take it out and dispose of it when youreundressing and putting on a gown.
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Q: Doctors Used To Tell Women To Reschedule The Appointment Whats Changed
A. Gynecologists often told women to reschedule their pelvic exams because of the way Pap tests work. Before now, the presence of blood could make it harder to interpret Pap results. But technology has improved so much that its rarely a concern anymore. Because of the sophisticated tests we have, I rarely recommend someone skips this lifesaving appointment.
Get A Pap Smear Today
Because symptoms of cervical cancer can be mistaken for other common conditions, its crucial to get regular Pap smears to detect it as early as possible. It just might save your life.
Remind your mom, sisters, friends every woman in your life today! Our womens health team is standing by, ready to help you live a long, healthy life.
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Which One Should I See
Many women choose an OBGYN to be their primary care provider so that all their care is through the same person. This is a common choice, especially with younger women who have uncomplicated medical needs. However, older women and women with complex medical problems should continue to have both a Primary Care Provider and a separate OBGYN or gynecologist.
Most of the physicians at Madison Womens Health are OBGYNs. If you are already a patient at Madison Womens Health and wonder if you should see an OBGYN or your Primary Care Provider, send us a message through MyChart. Well be able to tell you who would be the most appropriate physician for your unique situation.
You May Be Worried That Getting A Gyno Exam During Your Period Could Compromise Your Test Resultsor That It’s Just Beyond Gross For Your Doctor Here’s The Real Deal
It used to be that women were warned against visiting their gynecologist during their monthly menstrual cycle, but a lot has changed over the years, and now were encouraged to keep our gyno appointments even if Aunt Flo arrives unexpectedly.
No one should cancel their gynecologist appointment because of their period, says Nancy McBride, MD, a gynecologist and clinical assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. In older forms of pap testing, nearly 25 percent of patients wouldnt get accurate pap smear results because it was affected by blood, and patients would have to undergo testing again, but thats no longer the case.
For women who are extra crampy and cranky during their time of the month or are just really disturbed by the idea, its okay to cancel in those cases, Dr. McBride says. But in some instances, having your period during your visit can actually be helpful for diagnosing period-related issues or determine if you have the period flu. If any of your symptoms are new or worseningyoure bleeding very heavily all of a sudden, for example, or your period is lasting more than 30 daysit could be beneficial to visit your gynecologist while they are occurring.
Whats more, women who are interested in an intrauterine device may be advised by their gynecologist to schedule a visit during their period, as the cervix is more naturally open, making the insertion procedure easier.
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Help Im Reading This In The Waiting Room
Theres no reason to sweat the fact that youre bleeding will N-O-T interfere with any of the common reasons someone is at the gynecologist.
- breast exam
- maternal healthcare
You arent the first bleeding person to step foot into a gynecologists office, nor will you be the last.
Your gynecologist wont be frustrated, grossed out, upset, or whatever other emotion youre worried about confronting.
Q Why Is It So Important To Have A Pelvic Exam
A. We use your yearly exam to screen for health problems and perform recommended tests. For example, the Pap test helps us diagnose cervical changes that could lead to cancer. We also offer sexually transmitted infection screening, perform a breast exam, offer vaccines you may need and discuss routine health maintenance topics. Dont let a little menstrual blood stand in the way of your gynecologic health!
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You’re On Your Period During The Exam
When you book your gyno appointment months in advance, you can’t necessarily control whether your period will land on the same day. Iflucky you!your period and your check-up coincide, don’t sweat it. “If you can’t go to your gynecologist on your period, then who can you go to?”Leena Nathan, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at UCLA Health-Westlake Village, tells SELF. “We’re used to bleeding.”
Just be aware that in some cases, having a Pap smear on your period may make it harder to get a clear test result, but that doesn’t mean you should skip your appointment. “If you’re having a Pap smear on your period, I’ll try to swipe away the blood and do the Pap,” says Dr. Nathan. “If it comes back inconclusive, you may have to come back. But rarely would we advise patients to cancel their appointment just for that reason.”
If You Get Your Period Before An Ob
If you got your period right before an ob-gyn appointment , you wouldn’t be the first to wonder if it’s an issue.
Annual check-ups, pap smears, and appointments for issues like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis typically require pelvic exams. Your doctor will have you put your feet in the stirrups, insert a speculum to widen your vagina, and visually inspect your vagina and cervix. For some appointments, they’ll need to gather cell samples from your vaginal fluid, and it’s only logical to wonder whether period blood can get in the way of that.
“If you’re going for your annual exam, yes, 100 percent, it is fine to go during your period,” said Leah Millheiser, MD, ob-gyn and director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford Health Care. That can even include getting a pap smear done. Traditional guidelines typically asked for patients to wait until after their period was over for this exam, but according to Dr. Millheiser, newer pap smears can assess your cells even in the presence of blood. You can always check with your provider if you’re unsure, but “if your appointment is already scheduled and you have your period, there’s no reason to cancel it,” Dr. Millheiser said.
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How Do I Prepare For My First Gyno Appointment
Its really easy to prepare for your first gynecologist appointment. Be sure to schedule your exam in the middle of your cycle. We want to be sure youre not having your period during the exam.
If you have irregular periods, thats something you should mention during your appointment.
For two days before your exam, you should NOT:
- Have sex
What Can Cause Pelvic Pain In Girls
Pelvic pain is common in adolescent girls. Usually, it is related to menstrual cramps, though many other conditions can cause it, including endometriosis, a painful disease in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus.
Constipation or bladder problems can present as pelvic pain, so I also ask patients about bowel habits and urinary symptoms. Teenagers often dont get enough fiber in their diet or drink enough water. If constipation is an issue, we discuss dietary changes and if that doesnt work, I recommend stool softeners or laxatives. If needed, I will suggest they see a pediatric urologist or pediatric gastroenterologist.
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How Often Should I See My Gynecologist After Age 30
If youre in good health and not pregnant or being treated for any illnesses, then you can see your gynecologist every other year after you turn 30. At each visit, youll have a Pap smear and a pelvic exam.
Official recommendations have actually reduced the number of Pap smears that women should get if they dont have any history of pre-cancerous cells in prior exams. These changes were made based on new findings of the development of cervical cancer progression.
Most cervical cancers are caused by certain types of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus. Doing a yearly Pap test is now considered to be redundant.
Can You Get A Pelvic Exam When You Have Your Period
can you still get a pelvic exam at planned paernthood if u are on you period?
Yes, its totally okay to get a pelvic exam when youre on your period. But most nurses and doctors would rather do your pelvic exam on a non-period day when youre not bleeding, or at least not bleeding heavily. Thats because menstrual fluid can affect the results of some lab tests. But if you have questions about your menstrual fluid or another issue with your period that you want your nurse or doctor to take a look at, go ahead and schedule your pelvic exam during your period.
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You Sometimes Miss A Few Birth Control Pills
If youre taking birth control pills, chances are good that your doc will ask about how consistent you are about taking them. Be honest! Everyone always worries about this, but its totally normal to forget to take a pill once in a while, says Dr. Dweck.
The point in telling your doctor you’re having issues with your pills isn’t so they can reprimand you, but so they can help you determine if it’s really the best method for you. For example, if you’re forgetting to take the progestin-only birth control pill within the same three-hour window every day, you’re really messing with its level of protection. Talking that over with your doctor can help you decide if another type of contraception will be easier to incorporate into your life. Remember, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Gynecologists truly have seen all of this before!
You Have Piercings Or Tattoos Down There
Sometimes women will say: I dont want to be examined because I have a piercing or tattoo down there, says Dr. Dweck. But were not here to judge we just want to make sure youre caring for things properly. Having a piercing or tattoo on your nether regions can come with risks like infection or an allergic reaction, so its important to be open with your doc and let them examine you.
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