What to Expect from a Gynecologist Visit (at Every Age and Stage)

By Toni Gasparis

Women know that they have to go to a gynecologist for their health. But many women don’t know what to expect or what they should be aware of every time they go. A woman’s body constantly changes as she ages so what was focused on in her visit at age 25 is not the same at age 55. OB/GYN and Director of Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University School of Medicine Dr. Leah Millheiser breaks down women’s health and explains what you can expect from your annual visit at every life stage.


More: 5 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Gynecologist

Age 26-39

A woman’s mid-20s brings the potential for fertility issues. While not all women experience them, it is possible to have problems conceiving. If a woman wants a lot of children gynecologists will generally advise them to think about starting to reproduce earlier on to avoid complications, or to freeze eggs while they are younger. This stage of life is commonly referred to as childbearing years so the gynecologist will want to have a conversation about whether or not a woman wants children. This is also the time to talk about the act of getting pregnant and how stress can affect pregnancy. This is also the time where women will have more frequent trips to the OB/GYN office to make sure they have a safe pregnancy. Post-childbirth the gynecological conversation will switch to vaginal dryness and the potential avoidance of sex, post-partum depression, incontinence (loss of bladder control), and breastfeeding, in addition to pelvic and genital health. At age 30, while annual appointments will still be made, pap smears will begin to occur every three to five years.

More: How to Satisfy Your Pregnancy Cravings the Healthy Way

In 1985 when quarterback Joe Theismann had his fibula and tibia shattered by a tackle, it ended his NFL career — a career in which he'd suffered seven broken noses, a broken collarbone, and broken hands and ribs. "People would say that it was a tragedy… but…it was a blessing," he's said. "I'd become somewhat of a self-absorbed individual and didn't really care much about a lot of things except myself. And ever since that day…I've tried to be a better person."

Yes, Chronic Pain Alters Your Personality

All that physical pain can make it difficult to be your best self. That's been confirmed by a study in the European Journal of Pain. Seems people with chronic pain, have very low levels of the personality-influencing neurotransmitter glutamate in their frontal cortex, triggering emotional dysregulation and increasing anxiety.

Keep Reading Show less