In honor of the upcoming International Day of Action for Women’s Health, it’s time again to look at how IMPORTANT it is for women to visit to the gynecologist regularly. It’s a simple action you can take to support your health.
Reproductive health is a KEY indicator of OVERALL health for females. In case I lost you back there at “gynecologist,” here it is again: the health of your female reproductive system can have a direct link to the health of your whole body.
In math terms…
HEALTHY REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM ≈ HEALTHY BODY
I used to feel like a nervous wreck at the gyno. I would dread the appointment. My stomach would be in knots the whole day leading up to it.
Questions would swirl around in my head, like “does my vagina look normal?” and “did I shave well enough?”
As soon as I heard the nurse call my name, my heart would pound, my palms would sweat, and my mouth would dry up. Oh, the anxiety!
That all seems a bit silly now, but not so long ago, it felt all too real.
A visit to the gyno gets a heck of a lot calmer (and way more interesting) when you understand how your body is working. For me, tracking periods, knowing my flow, cycle syncing, and understanding my hormonal fluctuations all help to make me feel less like a nervous wreck at the gyno. Now I feel more like I’m having an informed, friendly chat with a trusted advisor.
Last week I had my annual gyno appointment. Following a serious health scare I had 11 years ago, I made a vow to my body to have an annual exam at the gynecologist. I felt more confident than ever this time, and my gyno noticed. She immediately asked me what I’m doing to look so healthy (on the outside at this point as the exam hadn’t started). I discussed with her the healthy, more natural choices I make to take better care of myself, and the importance I’ve placed on learning more about my female body.
Up first at the appointment was a breast exam, then a smear test (Pap smear). Finally, since I was on day 6 of my cycle, I was offered a transvaginal ultrasound.
“Yes! That would be amazing to see!” I exclaimed.
I’d never had this test before and was excited to see what it would show.
A transvaginal ultrasound uses a wand that’s inserted into the vagina to show the reproductive organs: vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and endometrium. I got to watch in awe on a monitor as the doctor explained everything she saw and took measurements to determine if each part was in the healthy range. The test was under 2 minutes and felt painless – just a very light pressure of the wand.
Nothing to be feared, ladies!
I would highly recommend that you request this from your gynecologist! The trick is that you need to be on day 4-7 of your menstrual cycle (another reason tracking periods is useful). I recommend talking to your nurse or doctor when you make your next appointment.
Fortunately, everything checked out normal and healthy for me. Once I got dressed again, she gave me a print out of my ultrasound (I felt so proud!) and discussed everything again so I understood.
Since I had the opportunity, I asked her if she’d heard of cycle syncing. She had not, so I briefly explained and gave her the name of a book for her to check out (read my in-depth blog on cycle-syncing here).
“I’d love to be able to give my patients more natural alternatives to a pill, and it makes sense to use food,” was her response. I couldn’t agree more.
I love spreading the word about food for the female body!
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