STAY CURRENT ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATION →  COVID-19 VACCINES AT GALEN → If you believe you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and need to be tested please call our COVID-19 hotline at (423) 618-9006

Gynecology Exam 101

Reviewed by David Barker, MD, FACOG
Gynecologists are specialists in women’s health. Typically, a girl’s first gynecology appointment should happen between 13 to 15 years old.

What does a Gynecologist do on the first visit? 

On the first visit, you will start off by talking to your doctor about your health and what to expect in a future appointment. This initial appointment does not include a pelvic exam.

Your doctor will ask questions, and answering honestly, is the key to helping your doctor take care of your health. There may be a few questions that you may find uncomfortable to answer. All information that you give is confidential.

The following are some questions that your doctor may ask you:

  • Do you have irregular periods?
  • How bad are your period cramps?
  • Do you have uncomfortable itching?
  • Are you having sex? If so, are you using any form of birth control?


Gynecologists care about your overall health. They may also speak to you about other things such as depression, weight, sleep problems, and more.

What is a pap smear, and what happens during one?

If you are 21 and older or suffer issues such as heavy periods, pain, and itching, you may have to get a pap smear. This test checks for abnormal changes in your cervix. These abnormalities could lead to cancer.

There are three parts to this exam. The doctor will look at your vulva, then your vagina and cervix with a speculum, and they will check your internal organs. Also, during a pap smear, a sample of cells is taken from your cervix. While the pap smear is uncomfortable, it should not hurt.

How to prepare for my first gynecology appointment? 

It is easy to prepare for your first gynecology appointment. Try and schedule your Gynecologist appointment in the middle of your cycle. You do not want to be on your period during the appointment. If you have irregular cycles, mention that in your doctor’s appointment. Starting two days before your appointment, you should not; have sex, douche, use powders or creams, or tampons. It is up to you if you shave, and it will not affect your exam.

At Galen OB/GYN East and Galen OB/GYN Ridgeside, we pride ourselves on being the largest obstetrics & gynecology group in the region, and our team of specialists provide care for any age and stage of a woman’s life.  We consistently offer a superior standard of care through a team approach. Call (423) 899-9133 or (423) 629-9743 to schedule an appointment at one of our offices today.