Don’t use contraceptive suppositories and gels
Prior to an appointment with the gynecologist, it is important to preserve the natural vaginal flora for the doctor to objectively assess your health condition and for smear test results to be adequate.
Seemingly harmless contraceptive gels and suppositories can adversely affect the test results.
They sometimes contain substances that cause redness and itching, which can be mistaken for symptoms of disease by the doctor.
It is recommended that you refrain from using these products 24−48 hours before the exam, so that the results are as accurate as possible.
Abstain from having sex
A pelvic exam procedure will, perhaps, be the last thing on your mind when you are about to make love.
However, prior to a gynecologist appointment, you should remember that sexual intercourse can affect test results.
That is because the sperm’s alkaline pH affects the vaginal acidic pH and flora, distorting the results of smear tests, including the Pap smear.
It is better to postpone having sex with a condom since friction can slightly traumatize the mucosa or cause inflammation, which sometimes leads to diagnostic errors.
Using a lubricant is also not recommended.
If sex did take place, let your gynecologist know about it. This will help them adequately interpret your smear test results.
When planning a pelvic exam, the best option is to refrain from having sex 24−48 hours before the appointment.
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Tend to some intimate hygiene, but not too much
One wants to feel confident and comfortable when visiting a doctor such as a gynecologist.
Many women are too scrupulous about their intimate hygiene prior to the appointment, but excessive thoroughness may adversely affect the examination and the smear test results.
During the exam, the doctor pays attention to the nature, color, smell, and amount of vaginal discharge, among other things.
Changes in these parameters can be indicative of a disease.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up personal hygiene at all.
Prior to an appointment, it is recommended that you wash your vagina with warm water but without using antibacterial soap,
ince such hygiene products also affect the vaginal pH and distort test results.
Should you postpone a pelvic exam while on your period?
Menstruation is quite an intimate matter, but is this the only reason you should put off a pelvic exam?
In some cases, menstrual blood in the vagina makes it difficult to examine the internal organs.
Many gynecologists believe that changes occurring in the body during menstruation can also distort smear test results (due to the changes in the vaginal pH and cellular composition).
However, doctors recommend coming in for a pelvic exam during menstruation specifically if the flow has become too heavy (when you need to change your pad every 1–2 hours) or the period has come unexpectedly.
If this occurs, seeing a doctor helps you promptly understand the situation.
If you plan to have an intrauterine device inserted, you should also visit a gynecologist while on your period. During this time, the procedure is usually less painful.
Should you remove pubic hair before a pelvic exam?
Each woman is free to decide how her pubic area should look, and this doesn't affect the gynecologist's attitude towards her.
The issue has more to do with aesthetics than health.
Pubic hair doesn't interfere with the examination or affect test results as long as a woman maintains her intimate hygiene.
If preparing for an appointment, act naturally and do what's most comfortable for you personally.
How to reduce gas if you are nervous before a pelvic exam?
Intestinal gas formation is a natural process of the human body. During a pelvic exam, the doctor will press on the stomach, which may sometimes lead to an embarrassing situation.
Don't be ashamed. This is absolutely normal and part of a doctor's daily routine.
If you are still worried about it, prior to your appointment, avoid foods that cause excessive gas.
These are legumes, dairy, grains, bread, some vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus), fruit (apples, peaches, pears, prunes), onions, sweets, and chewing gum.
Continuous gas formation and bloating may be a symptom of ovarian disorders, which is why you should tell the gynecologist about it.
What is a pelvic exam? If you’re getting ready for your first one, there’s one very important thing you need to know – it’s not scary. And it’s absolutely worth it to get examined regularly, because it will help you always stay healthy.