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What is a gynecologist? A gynecologist is a doctor who studies and treats diseases of the female reproductive system.

When to visit

When would you see a gynecologist? Young women and adolescents should start having gynecologic examinations when they turn 18 or when they first become sexually active (if that occurs before the age of 18). The examination may also be necessary before the age of 18 for concerns like abdominal pain, irregular or painful menstrual periods, or vaginal discharge.

What to expect

What would you expect during a visit with a gynecologist? The entire exam takes only a few minutes. The doctor will often ask a female chaperon to be present to make the patient feel more comfortable. This person can be a parent or friend or it can be another person from the doctor’s office, like a nurse. The doctor will perform a pap smear and test for sexually transmitted diseases. After the Pap smear it’s normal for the patient to have a small amount of blood spotting over the next day or so.

How often to visit

How often should you visit a gynecologist? Once sexually active, most physicians recommend that women get yearly check-ups.

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