What Are Gyn Checkups?

Gynecology (“gyn” for short) is a medical field that focuses on the female reproductive system. A gyn checkup is a yearly health check — like a regular eye exam or dental checkup.

Doctors often call gyn checkups “well woman visits” because they’re designed to keep you healthy by catching small issues before they turn into big ones. This could be even before you realize you have an issue. It’s sort of like when a dentist finds a cavity before it gives you a toothache.

Doctors might call the yearly checkup a “gyn exam,” but there’s very little actual examining involved. A doctor or nurse may quickly look at your breasts and external genitalia to be sure everything’s OK. But most of the visit will be spent talking.

Some of the things you’ll discuss are periods, breast growth, birth control, STDs, sexuality, relationships, pregnancy, and body image. Most important, you’ll have a chance to ask questions about anything — like how your breasts look, if you should shave your pubic hair or not, or if the things you’ve heard about STDs are true.

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