The Awkward, Yet Necessary, Experience of Going to the Gynecologist

‘Gyno’, ‘Vag Doctor’, ‘Vaginacologist’, and ‘Boob Tickler’ are just some of the delightful names used to describe a gynecologist- a doctor who specializes in the health of a woman’s reproductive system (vagina, uterus, ovaries, etc) and breasts. Yes, that’s right you ignorant gentlemen and prepubescent girls, there is a doctor that spends their days elbows deep in vaginas and boobs.

While the profession may not sound like the worst job in the world, being a patient to one of these doctors is pretty uncomfortable, embarrassing, strange, and downright awkward. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Society sexualizes everything about a woman, including her reproductive health, and a woman shouldn’t feel uncomfortable seeking preventive medicine.” Despite the truth of that statement, I still probably wouldn’t like spreading my legs for someone in a lab coat to inspect with a magnifying glass (Okay, that was a bit dramatic, they don’t actually use a magnifying glass, they use something much worse.)

Yet, despite the necessary awkwardness that ensues, day after day, year after year, teenage girls, twenty-somethings, soon-to-be mothers, and old broads get up on the exam table and give a full show of the Almighty “V” in the name of health.

Well, in the pursuit of making sure our lady bits are healthy and normal, I’m pretty sure most young woman go through the same stages I do right before a gynecologist appointment. To my fellow females, please feel free to commiserate in our shared awkwardness in the following stages.

Stage 1: Denial of the Inevitable Awkwardness

A few days before your gynecologist appointment, you may think, “Hey, maybe it won’t be awkward. I mean it’s only my vagina and boobs. The doctor has seen her fair share of them. All of my ‘parts’ cant’t be too different from anyone else’s.” Wrong. The day I stop thinking it’s awkward for a doctor to play my boobs like a keyboard, someone please give me a reality check.

Stage 2: Waiting Room Paperwork

The day is finally here and you’re sitting in the waiting room trying to act all nonchalant like you’re waiting to get your hair or nails done. Then, the medical receptionist gives you a bit of paperwork to fill out before you are actually seen. “Weight? Is ‘Gwyenth Paltrow’ an acceptable answer? Medications? I’m on birth control, but I forgot the name. I’ll just write down Birth Control, shouldn’t my doctor already know this answer? Last menstrual cycle? Ummm. Last month, carry three, add four. I think I bought tampons last week. Shit. I’ll just write down the 1st”. 

Stage 3: Exam Room Chit-Chat

You are finally, yet reluctantly, led by a bright-eyed nurse who compliments your outfit. Whether you are wearing a head-to-toe yoga ensemble or dressed to impress, the nurse will almost always compliment you. Then she takes your blood pressure and weight. “Damnit. I know Gwen doesn’t weight that much. I need to start eating more kale and eating my fruits, not juicing them.”  Your doctor comes in, hopefully it’s a woman, otherwise, good for you for being ‘comfortable’ with a dude who’s your dad’s age, and you begin discussing your vagina. And then there is that age old question, “How many sexual partners have you had?” There is a split second in that exam room when your gynecologist is looking at you and you want to answer truthfully, but for some reason you don’t want her to think that you’re some insatiable nympho like the girl from Cruel Intentions, or some Dugger Daughter prude. But alas, you reassure yourself that they are there to treat you, not judge you, and answer truthfully.

Stage 4: How Many People Have Worn This? 

After some great conversation under fluorescent lighting, your doctor leaves you alone to undress. A classic hospital gown with a mild floral print that opens from the front awaits you all folded up on the exam table. You quickly undress because you’re afraid of the nurse walking in on you naked and crouched over taking off your shoes. After you put the gown on and try to look casual, your doctor makes you wait like 10 minutes because apparently that’s how long it takes to put on a cheap piece of cotton. A thought pops into your head, How many vaginas have touched this gown? Ew. 

Stage 5: The Actual Pelvic Exam

Dun dun dun dunnn. The gynecologist walks in and has you lie back and think of England – or America for that matter. First is the breast exam where the gynecologist gets to 2nd base with you time and time and again. At my last GYN appointment, my doctor spent the whole breast exam talking to me about why she regrets not reading To Kill A Mockingbird  and how she wants me to recommend some books for her. Ok, I guess.

Finally, she travels south and sticks in an alien probing device. Just kidding. It’s called a speculum and used to open up all of your business for her to see what’s going on up in there. And the whole time you’re thinking “Oh god. Please don’t let me fart. Or even worse, queef. Should I have shaved? Next, they move onto what’s called a ‘bimanual exam’, which basically consists of the doctor sticking two, not one, but two fingers up there and patting your tummy. Then, just like that, the exam is over, and you hear the doctor discard the cheap latex gloves that explored your most intimate parts.

Stage 6: Post Exam Chit-Chat

Once the exam is over, the doctor will probably ask if you have any questions, and of course, a thousand of them race through your head: Yeah, do those scented tampons work? Why do my boobs hurt all the time? Can you teach me how to do a breast exam? Can I have your cell number, you know, for medical emergencies? Why do you want to have your face in vaginas all day long? What happens if I take my birth control with alcohol? How much do you make, because I’m really considering dropping my liberal arts major to pursue medicine. Do you watch The Mindy Project? But since, you just want to get the hell out of the office, you say no, and decide to consult WebMD later. See ya next year, Doc!

Despite the awkwardness of going to the gynecologist, ladies, your health is important and should be taken seriously. By going to the gynecologist you can catch STDs before it’s too late; learn about reproductive health problems that may affect you when you try to have children; learn how to prevent female cancers like ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer; or you could simply learn about the complexity and mystery of the Almighty Vagina. If you haven’t seen a gynecologist in awhile, go call her up, and if you visit your’s regularly, then good for you!

Happy chimney sweeping, y’all.

Featured Image via Flickr

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