I look forward to going to my annual exam as much as I… well…look forward to going to my annual exam. If I focus on the speculum, the not-at-all-fun rectal exam (yes, that is a thing), and the lube that stays down there all day—even after a shower—I won’t ever see my gynecologist.
I don’t even bother to think about the Pap smear that will feel like a grill brush down there, the tiny gown that never adequately covers all of my parts, or how sweaty my armpits always get during the breast and lymph node exams.
Fine, I think about those things. I dread them because they are uncomfortable AF. But your annual exam doesn’t have to suck. In fact, checking that off the list can be a huge relief.
Your doctor can answer any questions you might be too embarrassed to ask your friends, and you can discuss changes you may be experiencing as you get older. Because changes to the female body happen and it’s overwhelming sometimes.
To put our minds at ease, Madge the Vag talks to OB-GYN Dr. Elizabeth Poynor about what to expect at your yearly visit and why all of this uncomfortable checking is necessary.