Gyn appointment

Questions and discussion about contraception, safer sex, STIs, sexual healthcare and other sexual health issues.
Raffles
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Gyn appointment

Unread post by Raffles »

Hello! I've got my second ever gyn appointment coming up, and I have a few questions.

1. They ask if your periods are regular. Mine are, as in they're predictable, but I'm not sure if they're more spaced out than normal. Instead of every four weeks, the start of one period to the start of the next is five weeks. Is that normal, or something I should flag to them? I remember last time they asked me if I have a period every month and I said yes, but it's not strictly true because I might "miss" a month due to the spacing.

2. What does it mean to be sexually active? I told them that I'm not because I don't have any sort of partnered sex, but I do masturbate regularly. Is that something I have to tell them, or are they asking specifically about partnered sex?

3. I'm stressed about what just happened politically here in the US, and I'm looking to get birth control before it's too late. I think an IUD is right for me, but will I be able to get it even though I'm not sexually active and don't plan to be? Will they ask me why I want it?
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Re: Gyn appointment

Unread post by Carly »

Hey Raffles -- happy to help with these questions. I'll go number by number.

1. When they ask, I think it's ok if you describe that to them to see what they think. They may also want to add that to your records with them and check in later with you about it. Typically, periods occur every 21 to 35 days, the average being 28 days. It sounds like you're right in that range, so they will likely tell you it's normal.

2. Generally when a doctor asks if you are sexually active they are assessing if you are at risk for pregnancy and/or of sexually transmitted infections. Solo masturbation does not have these risks, so you - in their eyes - are not sexually active. You answered correctly!

3. To my knowledge, not being sexually active is not a barrier to getting an IUD. They may talk to you about other contraceptive options just for good measure. I'm not entirely sure what their protocol is, but they might ask why you want one if you are not sexually active and explicitly do not plan to be. Not to challenge you maliciously, but because you are not at risk for pregnancy. Would you feel comfortable talking with them about that? Do you have any questions about IUDs that we can help answer?

Also, have you ever taken a look at our resource Your First Gynecologist Visit? I know this isn't your first time, but because this is still a relatively new experience it might feel good to read through it. I know I get a little nervous when I'm at the doctor sometimes!
Raffles
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Re: Gyn appointment

Unread post by Raffles »

Hi! Thanks for the answers. And I read through that piece last year when I was preparing for my first appointment! I didn't even see the doctor, I saw her PA because I just needed a regular check up and had no concerns. She didn't even do an internal exam at all. Not sure if it will be the same this year, but she said something about new guidelines that "virginal" patients who have no history/family history of cancer and have hpv vaccines don't need a PAP smear until 25 (I think, it's been almost a year so it's a little foggy). She didn't want me to be uncomfortable and didn't see any need to so she didn't.

I do feel comfortable, but I do have concerns because I'm in a "red" state. If the supreme court decides to overturn griswold, I might be in trouble. I'd rather get it now and not need it than need it down the line and not have it. I worry about things like having to get a monthly refill in case they just decide to not fill it. With an IUD, I'd at least have some time to come up with a plan. I've been reading up on then on planned parenthood's website, and it seems like a good fit for me.
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Re: Gyn appointment

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Raffles,

Yep, the screening guidelines for Pap smears were changed up last year, so that may have been what she was referring to (I don't love the gendered language but the ACOG has a good overview of those new guidelines if you're every curious: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs ... -screening).

Those are all entirely understandable reasons for wanting and IUD, and hopefully the healthcare providers you're talking to will listen to them and help you arrange for an IUD insertion.
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