Buffy Michelle Maynard, MSN, RNCOB, APRN, NPC, Family Nurse Practitioner
For most women, your yearly gynecology appointment is simply another item to check off your long to-do list, and it’s easy to show up to your appointment with little to no preparation. But by doing some groundwork before you come in, you can take an active role in your health, and help make your gynecological appointment as productive as possible.
Make sure they have your medical history.
If you’re switching to a new gynecologist, make sure they have your files from your last physician. Your medical history will help your physician know what issues to look for and how to best treat any they may find.
Disclose any breast or reproductive cancer in your family.
Ask the women in your family if they have ever had complications with births, bleeding disorders, or any breast or reproductive cancer. It is not uncommon to have some of your family’s history become your own. It is important for your gynecologist to know all of your family history so they can individualize your care. Knowing a patient’s family history of female complications can help them watch out for potential problems with your health, as well as teach you what normal is and when to be concerned.
Don’t be shy.
Don’t hold back any questions you have about your gynecological health, and feel free to share any concerns about your sexual and reproductive history, whether they be emotional or physical. We recommend that you prepare a list of questions for your gynecologist. This will help you stay on track when other questions arise. Visits with your gynecologist are the beginning of a relationship that has the potential to create a lifetime of healthy behaviors, routine screenings and becoming proactive in your own health.
Whether or not you are “due for a pap smear,” having a regular yearly visit enables your gynecologist to teach you the normals of your body, typical vaginal discharges, the dangers of unprotected sex, the importance of diet and vitamins months before you plan a pregnancy, the various types of birth control options for you and your partner and the abnormals to watch for in our bodies. Yearly visits enable your gynecologist to educate and support your body’s changes during the aging process as we enter into and come out the other side of menopause with a healthy body.
Your gynecologist is your partner in keeping you healthy, a role they can better do if they’re well informed.
Discuss any pregnancy plans.
Be open with your gynecologist about any pregnancy plans, whether they are in the near future or years away. Your physician can help you plan your future pregnancy, and help make it as healthy as possible.
Regular appointments with your gynecologist play an important role in your health, and at Baptist Health, our expert physicians are committed to helping women stay happy and healthy. Find a physician that is right for you.