First Gynecological Examination
If you are 18 years or older, or have ever been sexually active, we recommend that you have an annual gynecologic exam. The purpose of this exam is to determine that your reproductive organs are healthy, and to detect any medical conditions (such as infections or abnormal Pap smears) that could become serious if not treated.
What's included in the annual exam?
History taking: The health care provider will ask you many questions related to your lifestyle (including nutrition, physical activity, recreational habits, etc.), family medical history, and sexual history. This is a good time to ask questions and report any concerns you may have about your reproductive health.
External exam: Health care provider will check your blood pressure, thyroid, heart, and abdomen, and do a breast exam.
Pelvic exam: Health care provider will look and feel the shape of the external and internal reproductive organs, including the vulva (outside), uterus, and ovaries. An instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina so the provider can see the vaginal walls and cervix.
Lab tests: Based on your sexual history and age, the provider may collect samples for screening tests during the pelvic exam. The provider may take a sample of cells from the cervix; these cells will be evaluated for any unusual changes (this is called a Pap test). Screening tests for gonorrhea and Chlamydia, two sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), may also be collected. It generally takes 2 to 3 working days to get back the gonorrhea and Chlamydia test results, and approximately 4 weeks for Pap test results. Our standard procedure is to notify students only if test results are abnormal.
To learn more about Pap tests and screening for sexually transmitted diseases go to: www.ashastd.org The American Social Health Association provides up to date information on STDs and links to other helpful websites.
What other issues can be discussed during the annual exam?
- Screening for other sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and HIV.
- Options for birth control methods which are best suited to your needs.
- Any concerns or questions you have about your reproductive and sexual health.
How do I schedule an appointment and prepare for the exam?
Call the Gyn Clinic at 924-2773 to schedule your appointment approximately 2-4 weeks ahead of time. Schedule it at a time when you will not be having your period.
Ideally, try not to use any creams, douches, spermicides, or tampons for 24-48 hours prior to your exam.
Be prepared to ask any questions you have during your appointment.
It is helpful to learn as much as you can about your own medical history as well as that of your parents, grandparents, and siblings, prior to your appointment.
Come to the clinic 15 minutes prior to your actual appointment time to fill out necessary paperwork.
Allow approximately one hour for the appointment.
What does it cost to have an annual exam at Student Health?
There is no fee for seeing a health care provider for examinations or counseling. There are fees for lab tests (Pap test, gonorrhea, chlamydia) usually associated with an annual exam. You may have additional charges if other lab tests are needed. Lab charges are billed to insurance so please bring your insurance card with you to your visit. There are also charges for all prescriptions and medications administered in the Clinic.
What else can I do to help have a successful first annual exam?
Some women feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or even scared in anticipation of their first annual exam. The more you know in advance, the better prepared you will be during your appointment. For this reason, we highly recommend that you schedule a meeting in advance of your appointment with a peer health educator (PHE) who will talk with you in more detail about what will happen during the exam. The PHE can also answer some of your questions in advance. PHEs are U.Va. students who have been specially trained to provide accurate general information about gynecologic exams, birth control methods, and sexually transmitted infections. They do not provide individual medical advice.
Call our clinic at 924-2773 to schedule your appointment with a peer health educator, prior to your annual exam date.