Gynaecologists specialize in the reproductive health of women. Obstetricians provide care during pregnancy. Unless one develops a gynaecological problem earlier, the first visit to the gynaecologist is usually recommended at the age of 13-15.
Your gynaecologist-obstetrician (Ob-gyn) can help you through the various reproductive phases such as menarche, the teen years, when you become sexually active, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Issues regarding sexual or reproductive health, birth control, vaccinations and prevention of disease are discussed and any questions answered. Problems such as abnormal menstruation, infections, urinary difficulties etc are identified and treated. Cancer screening is performed. Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat your condition. Surgery may be necessary for certain conditions.
Before visiting your ob-gyn, it is recommended you avoid any sexual activity for 24 hours as it may irritate the vaginal tissues and affect test results. Your doctor will discuss the reason for your visit and ask you questions about your personal, medical and family history. A general heath check is initially performed which includes your weight, blood pressure, blood and urine tests. Based on your condition, your doctor may want to perform a physical examination usually in the presence of a nurse. You will lie on your back with your knees apart or your feet in stirrups. After an external examination, a device called speculum is placed to hold your vagina open so that an internal examination may be performed. Your doctor may insert a lubricated gloved finger into your vagina to examine your cervix and internal organs. During the examination, you may feel a pressure sensation. Inform your doctor if you have any pain.
Your doctor may perform a Pap test which involves the use of a tiny brush to obtain a sample of cells from the walls of your cervix which are then examined in the laboratory for the presence of cancer or other abnormalities. If you are sexually active, tests for sexually transmitted disease may be performed.