Finding a GYN
o Ask your GP for a referral to a good GYN
o Ask friends for a good GYN (word of mouth)
o Call the local RCC and see if they have any suggestions
o Choose a female GYN if that makes you more comfortable
Before the Appointment
o Do something relaxing the day of the appointment
o Avoid caffeine the day of the appointment because it increases anxiety
o Ask for a longer time slot for your appointment. Explain that you have something to talk about that you arenít comfortable talking about over the phone.
o Ask your doctor about anti anxiety medication to take the day of the appointment
o Write down a list of all things that could happen during the exam and have a plan of action...i.e.: Triggered I will do my deep breathing techs or visualization
o Bring a walkman in case you need to escape into some happy music during the appt.
o Use the restroom before hand so you will feel more comfortable.
o Have an initial visit to simply discuss any problems or concerns, to get to know the GYN/doctor, BEFORE the exam, then come back another day for the exam itself. It may help you become more comfortable with the doctor, if you're seeing someone new.
o Write down any questions you have so you donít forget to ask at the appointment.
o Bring a list of your medications already written out. It makes things go smoother.
o Take something small and comforting to hold in your hand during the exam.
o Wear a skirt if you want to keep on during the exam...it is allowed. Just explain that you are more comfortable this way.
At the Appointment
o The procedure is less than 5 minutes though it can seem like a lifetime. Knowing exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it helps...Knowledge is power and helps you to be in more control. NEVER forget that YOU are in control. YOU have the right to say NO at any point. You are a paying customer, and the customer is always right
o Ask to be shown what will happen before the procedure so you know exactly what will happen and ask to see the materials your GYN will use.
o You can keep your socks on. This will keep your feet from getting cold and sometimes makes you more comfortable to have some clothing on. Some people like to wear knee socks.
o Get the GYN to explain the procedure step by step whilst he/she is examining you.
o Have a female nurse present during the exam if possible.
o YOU have the choice on what position you have the exam.ie lying on your back or on your side. GYNís do have their own personal preferences but this is about YOU not them. Do what makes YOU feel most comfortable.
o If at any stage you don't feel comfortable during or before the exam. You can ask the exam to be stopped. YOU are in control and have the right to say NO at any point during the exam.
o Give yourself permission to skip the appointment if you arenít comfortable once you meet with the GYN.
o For those who find the whole speculum experience not just uncomfortable but downright painful - ask for a pediatric speculum.
o Try deep breathing exercises...
o Visualization / Guided Imagery go to a safe place within your mind where you feel at peace, safe and in a tranquil environment...
o Tell the doctor you only want to talk about safe topics while the exam is done.
o If you can, tell your GYN that you are a survivor. It will help them to understand you and your concerns about the appointment. Try to say that you are scared.
o Ask to have the top of the exam table up so you can see the doctor or nurse. This may give you a feeling of empowerment.
o Keep your eyes open. This will help keep you in the present.
o Ask the doctor to drape you so you can see her or him during the examination. Maintaining visual contact also helps keep you in the present.
o Uses self-talk like "I can get through this. I trust this person".
o Use grounding techniques.
o You have the right to have a support person with you during the exam, if that is helpful. You may have to arrange this ahead of time with your care provider.
o Remember, you are employing the doctor. You're in charge of hiring and firing.
What Happens at the Exam?
o A breast exam will take place.
o The External Genital Exam: A visual examination of the vulva and opening of the vagina; abnormalities, rashes, cysts, genital warts, etc. are noted.
o The Speculum Exam: A speculum is inserted to facilitate examination of the cervix; abnormalities are noted; testing for STDs is performed as is a Pap Test.
o The Bimanual Exam: One or two gloved, lubricated fingers are inserted into the vagina while your physician presses down on the lower abdomen to feel the internal organs. Size, shape, tenderness, pain, swelling and enlargement of organs are noted.
o Rectovaginal Exam: A gloved finger is inserted into the rectum to locate possible tumors and check the conditions of the muscles.
After the Appointment
o Plan the day to reward yourself
o Go to therapy after the appointment.
o Do soothing activities
o Be with friends
o Pamper yourself
o Call a friend to process the appointment