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The Importance Of Your First Gynae Visit

There comes a time in every girl (or woman’s) life where it becomes essential to make your health a priority and make the effort to visit the gynaecologist for the first time. Your first, and hopefully the start to regular gynae visits is crucial to ensure one’s overall female health is kept in check by helping to identify any problematic reproductive conditions as early as possible, such as endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome among others, so they can be managed properly from the outset. However, despite knowing the importance of going to the gynae for the first time or to continue going for your annual checkups, the experience can be extremely daunting. Johannesburg-based gyneacologist and obstetrician, Dr Lusanda Shimange-Matsose, Founder of My First Gynae Youtube Channel, highlights a few things you should know before visiting the gynaecologist for the first time to make you feel more at ease.

“Age is just a number. It is important to know that age is not a defining factor when visiting a gynaecologist for the first time. There really is no hard or fast rule but I personally recommend that your first visit is before your first period; ideally before puberty or during puberty. Mostly, the first time some women see a gynae is when they fall pregnant,” says Dr Shimange-Matsose.

She explains that it is important to educate our daughters from a young age to understand their bodies, their periods, to bust the myths that circulate amongst people and peers, and to have an open platform to ask questions. “We don’t do an internal where it’s not necessary, especially if you have not had your first sexual debut. Your first gynae visit is the start of your women’s health journey. The consultation has a clinical and educational element to it. The clinical aspect is to address any issues and educational concerns that could help dispel any myths and ultimately enhance your understanding of a woman’s health,” explains Dr Shimange-Matsose.

From your first gynae visit it is important that you are comfortable with your gynaecologist, comfortable enough to speak to about anything and everything you need help with. Women need to have a list of specifications when looking for a gynae and then stick with what they find ideal.

“In terms of how regularly you need to visit your gynae after your first visit all depends on your reason or the result of the first visit. It all depends on the changes you are experiencing as a woman and the stage of life you are in. As you get older, it should be yearly,” says Dr Shimange- Matsose.

“A very common question is, ‘what is a pap smear and is it sore?’. A papsmear is a screening tool that is used to look for precancerous lesions for cervical cancer . It may be uncomfortable, but it all varies. Some patients are anxious about having a papsmear. Depending on the clinical findings – there may be little spotting from sampling but it’s unlikely to be heavy bleeding. Ideally, a pap smear should be done annually,” she adds.

Apart from all of the insightful points already mentioned, it’s also just as important to feel comfortable to ask all the questions you have on your mind. Write them down before your appointment and don’t feel shy to ask them. Come as you are, you don’t have to be waxed or shaved or any of those misconceptions – your health is what the focus should be on as that is the most important thing!

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