What does a visit to the gynecologist look like?
Before visiting a doctor’s office, each patient coming to our centre for the first time will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their medical past.
Alicja Halbersztadt: The questionnaire includes questions about past diseases, injuries, accidents, allergies, treatment and surgeries, medicines and stimulants currently used, as well as diseases occurring in the immediate family. This information, with the patient’s consent, will be entered into the database and will be available only to the attending doctor, enabling him or her to plan optimal medical care. With such a system, during a visit to the office, the doctor has an insight into the patient’s medical history and focuses on obtaining information about their current health condition, reported problems and ailments that are the direct cause of the appointment. A gynaecological examination is not performed at every appointment.
In young women who have not yet had intercourse, specula examination and two-handed examination is almost never necessary. After collecting the interview, the doctor decides whether the examination may provide additional information, or whether it is to be of a check-up or diagnostic nature. If the doctor proposes a gynaecological examination „on the chair”, s/he will explain in detail the essence and purpose of this examination, and will provide a short description of what the examination will involve. We conduct the examination in our centre with intimacy, providing comfortable, air-conditioned bathrooms and changing rooms, as well as easy access to sanitary materials (paper towels, sanitary pads, tampons, intimate hygiene soaps). Patients can also use disposable covers for the duration of the examination. The examination room is closed to ensure complete privacy. If there is a need for an examination, then after the patient is comfortable on the gynaecological chair, it begins with the insertion of vaginal specula of the appropriate size, thanks to which the doctor can visually assess the condition of the vagina and the cervix, the type of discharge present in the genital tract, and collect the appropriate material for examination (e.g. pap smear, bacteriological tests). Sometimes the use of specula is not necessary, or special specula is used (for children, virgins).
The next stage of gynaecological examination, after removal of the specula, two-handed palpation is performed to assess the morphology of the pelvic organs. Such a gynaecological examination can be complemented with an ultrasound examination performed with a transabdominal transducer when the bladder is full, or with a vaginal ultrasound transducer after it has been emptied. Each patient visiting a gynaecologist should have her breasts examined, therefore this examination is an integral part of the visit. After a full gynaecological examination, the patient uses the toilet, where she can dress in comfort and privacy, then returns to the office, where the doctor informs her about the examination result. If further diagnostics is necessary, the doctor proposes an appropriate strategy, explaining the nature of the abnormalities, the risks and threats, and presenting the treatment options. All conclusions, recommendations and decisions made jointly by the doctor and the patient are registered in the medical records.
The last stage of the visit is issuing the necessary documents: prescriptions, referrals, certificates and sick leaves, or information for other doctors involved in the care of the patient. Our aim is to ensure proper respect during the gynaecological examination, complete comfort, and that intimacy and feelings of shame are respected. And every action or procedure we carry out requires the patient’s consent to perform it. Dear Patient, remember that the doctor is there for you during your visit, so at any time you can ask questions, and if you have any doubts share them, because only then we can take proper care of you.