What should I expect at my first gynecologic visit?
Many women and girls find a first gynecologic visit intimidating. As providers, we understand, and strive to make each and every visit as comfortable as possible. You may be surprised to discover that the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends a first papanicolaou (pap) test at age 21. There are a variety of reasons to see a gynecologist, including; well woman exams, menstrual concerns, fertility concerns, pelvic pain, and visits for contraception.
For a first visit with us, please schedule time ahead of your appointment to complete paperwork, either online or in person. Please bring important written questions or concerns with you. We will be happy to answer them! You will be meeting your provider in a comfortable relaxed setting before having to change out of your clothes. Some first visits are complete in this stage and no exam is necessary. Other times, an appropriate examination is required.
How long is the appointment?
Usually a complete well woman examination lasts about twenty to thirty minutes, with the majority of the visit time scheduled for discussion of concerns, or answering questions. Results from the pap test or other results are available within a week or two most of the time. Your results will be posted to your patient portal, usually within 2 weeks. Please check the portal or contact us by phone if you don’t see your results on the portal.
What is involved in the Well Woman Exam?
Generally a complete well woman exam involves all the elements of a physical exam, including a clinical breast examination, and a pelvic examination. The pelvic examination includes examination of the uterus and ovaries, and if necessary a Papanicolau (pap) smear.
How do I get my test results?
For the quickest way to get your test results, please go to our patient portal and OPT IN to review emails about your results. As soon as your results come in, our provider can post them to the patient portal for you to view. If you do not have access to a computer, you can call our office and speak with your medical assistant regarding your results. Unless they are abnormal, you will not receive a phone call.
How often should I get a pap smear?
Northwest Women’s Clinic strongly recommends annual exams for all women. A pap test is only one component of your health that is discussed at an annual exam.
For your information, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recently changed its guidelines for when women should begin getting pap tests and how often they should be performed.
Begin pap screening at 21 years of age regardless of sexual activity (only 0.1% of cervical cancer occurs before the age of 21)
If previous pap smears are normal for the last three years future tests should be performed:
Every two years for women age 21-29
Every three years for women over age 30
More frequent screening may be needed in certain circumstances. Talk to your provider at your annual exam to determine how frequently you should get a pap test.
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