The Clue Ambassador Program is a community of people from all over the world using their voices to open the conversation around menstrual health.
We asked a few of our ambassadors about their first gynecologist appointment. Here's what they shared:
What city and country are you from? Frederiksværk, Denmark
What is your profession? Laboratory technician
Why did you start using Clue? I had very irregular periods.
How did you find your first gynecologist? Through my mother, though my first check up was at a hospital because of a cyst that burst in my ovaries.
Why did you decide to make the appointment? My period was two months late.
Walk us through the experience. Were you comfortable? Uncomfortable? What happened that you expected, and what was a surprise? Ironically, I got my period a few days before my appointment. I was a bit worried about the blood, but the gynecologist was so nice and calm about everything. He said he still wanted to check me out since my periods are so painful, so I got up there bleeding everywhere and he scanned my uterus. While he scanned, he explained everything that was shown on monitor to make me feel more comfortable. So all-in-all a great experience.
What should people expect and how should people prepare for their first gynecologist appointment? Just go in there with an open mind. If you feel something's wrong with your body, tell them, and don't walk away until you feel like you've found a solution to the problem. Doctors are there to help you, no matter what the problem is.
What city and country are you from? Buenos Aires, Argentina
What is your profession? Student
Why did you start using Clue? Because I wanted to track my period on my phone instead of having to remember to write it down somewhere.
How did you find your first gynecologist? She was recommended by my mother's gynecologist.
Why did you decide to make the appointment? I had been struggling with pelvic pain and cramps outside of my period for some time, which I thought was just ovulation pain. But at some point it started making my anxiety worse and I decided to do something about it.
Walk us through the experience. Were you comfortable? Uncomfortable? What happened that you expected, and what was a surprise? I was very nervous for two main reasons: I don't shave at all and I have a female partner. When I got in, the gynecologist was rushed and asked me the routine questions quite fast. She then performed my pelvic exam and when she saw my pubic hair she said that it wasn't normal, which made me feel super self-conscious. She then gave me a prescription to get a blood test and wouldn't tell me which tests I was getting even though I asked, and when I asked about my pain she said it had no cause and I had to deal with it. She included the HIV blood test in the prescription without asking for my consent which is illegal in my country. I left without making a new appointment and crying. Needles to say, I looked for a new doctor who immediately diagnosed me with PCOS.
What should people expect and how should people prepare for their first gynecologist appointment? I think that you shouldn't be afraid of going to the gynecologist for the first time. It will definitely be kind of uncomfortable, especially if you're sexually active because the doctor will probably conduct a pelvic exam, but your doctor should make you feel as comfortable as possible. It's not ok for any doctor to judge or shame you about your body, your choices regarding it, your sexuality or your gender identity.
How was the experience unique to you as a LGBT/queer/nonbinary person? I was very nervous about being poorly treated because I have a female partner. I identify as bisexual but I have only had sex with my girlfriend, and I felt like my doctor still considered me a virgin because I haven't had sex with a man. Other than that, I didn't really feel that it changed anything.
What city and country are you from? Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
What is your profession? Acupuncturist
Why did you start using Clue? To track my emotional ups and downs and verify they were related to my cycle.
How did you find your first gynecologist? Was referred by my mom.
Why did you decide to make the appointment? It was suggested that I see her because I was sexually active.
Walk us through the experience. Were you comfortable? Uncomfortable? What happened that you expected, and what was a surprise? I was really nervous. I wasn't sexually active until I was 18 or 19 and it was my first boyfriend. I was embarrassed that my mom asked (we didn't really talk about that kind of stuff) and was really nervous when she said she thought I should go see a doctor so I could go on birth control. I was really nervous at the appointment. It's a bit invasive to be told to take off all your clothes and have someone shine a spotlight on the parts that you've always been told were supposed to be kept private. I was understandably (I thought) a bit tense and wasn't relaxing enough for the doctor to do what she needed to do. She told me that I needed to "just relax" and that if I was having sex this shouldn't be any problem for me. The only thing I could think was "this is nothing like the 1-2 times I've had sex." It was a terrible experience. When I told my mom her response was, "Yeah, Dr.___ doesn't have the best bedside manner but she's a good doctor."
What should people expect and how should people prepare for their first gynecologist appointment? I think it's important to find someone you're comfortable with. If I could go back I'd probably try to ask my friends who they saw. I'd try to meet with the doctors ahead of time to make sure I felt a level of trust with them.
What city and country are you from? Birmingham, Mississippi USA
Why did you start using Clue? Because of irregular periods.
How did you find your first gynecologist? She was the same gynecologist my mom had.
Why did you decide to make the appointment? I was 17 and had gone about 9 months or more without having a period. My mother, of course, was scared that I was pregnant. But I knew that couldn't be possible because I was still a virgin. I was afraid that I was infertile, so I made the appointment.
Walk us through the experience. Were you comfortable? Uncomfortable? What happened that you expected, and what was a surprise? Between the time I made the appointment and the day of said appointment, I started my period and it didn't stop for over a month. I didn't have a car or driver's license yet, so my mom had to take me to the appointment. My mom and I were very close, especially for someone my age. I remember only waiting for about 10 minutes, after filling out all of my paperwork, before I was called back. They gave me the standard procedure, weighing me, then asking me to pee in a cup. I was then placed in a room and they asked if I wanted my mom to be there and I said yes because I was quite nervous and my mom was very good at calming me in these types of situations. I was given my gown to change into and sat on the patient's chair for five minutes. The doctor finally came in about another 10 minutes later and was very sweet and listened carefully to everything I told her. Because I was on my period, she had to take my tampon out and then she realized that not only was I bleeding for over a month, it was a very heavy flow.I didn't feel awkward at all around her. She made everything so comfortable that I felt silly for ever being nervous. She ended up prescribing me with birth control to stop my long and irregular periods. She told me that she believed I wasn't ovulating and also explained that it's very common for this to happen and does not mean that I can't have kids - which made me very happy.
What should people expect and how should people prepare for their first gynecologist appointment? Be prepared to be able to explain everything that's going on. Every bit of information will help your doctor to help you become healthier. I'm not one to tell people what to expect because expectations can ruin experiences. Every gynecologist is different, in terms of how they speak and whether they calm your nerves. But expect to be treated well and with respect because that is what you deserve. Accept nothing less than you deserve.
Interested in joining the Ambassador Program? Read more about it here.