You booked your gynecologist appointment months in advance — now it’s coming up and you realize you’re going to be on your period.
What’s a menstruator to do?? Nothing unless you want to! You can definitely proceed as planned and go to your appointment.
“You can go to the gynecologist while on your period,” says Felice Gersh, MD, author of “PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness.”
“It shouldn’t impact the appointment very much at all,” she says.
In fact, there are even instances when it’s better to go to the gyno on your period. Below, all your questions about going to the gyno while on your period, answered.
There’s no reason to sweat — the fact that you’re bleeding will N-O-T interfere with any of the common reasons someone is at the gynecologist.
- STI testing
- Pap smear, depending on how heavy your period is
- (most) fertility treatments
- conversations about birth control
- breast exam
- maternal healthcare
You aren’t the first bleeding person to step foot into a gynecologist’s office, nor will you be the last.
Your gynecologist won’t be frustrated, grossed out, upset, or whatever other emotion you’re worried about confronting. (For the record: If you ever go to the doctor and they meet you with that kind of negativity, it’s within your right to leave immediately.)
Ultimately, your comfort is what’s most important here! So, if for whatever reason you want to reschedule for a time you won’t be menstruating, do that.
There’s one big caveat to this: You shouldn’t reschedule if the reason you’re going to the gynecologist is because your period is heavier than usual.
“If something unusual is going on with your cycle, it’s important not to delay care,” says Gersh.
To reiterate: There’s *no* medical reason to reschedule.
Being on your menstrual cycle isn’t going to have an effect on your visit or results.
Thanks to new tech, the findings of your Pap smear, STI tests, and pelvic exam will most likely be the same as they would if you weren’t bleeding!
“If you have your period, it should be known,” says Gersh. That said, it probably won’t entail you sitting down like “Hey, doc…”
It’s standard for every gynecologist appointment to begin with a medical assistant asking intake questions such as:
- What brings you in?
- When was the first day of your last period?
- Are you currently menstruating?
- When was your last mammogram?
“By the time the doctor has entered the patient’s room, they should know that information from the intake form,” she says.
If for whatever reason the assistant doesn’t ask you about your last menstrual cycle, you might say any of the following to any of the medical staff you interact with:
- “Just so you know, I’m currently on my period!”
- “Before I put the gown on, I just want to ask: I’m on the heaviest day of my period… Should I keep my pad on? Off?”
- “By the way, will there be a pelvic exam today? If so, I just want to let you know that I have my period.”
What happens during a gynecologist appointment will vary based on why you’re there.
Wondering what a pelvic exam is like on your period?
“Before the pelvic exam, the gynecologist will send you to the bathroom to remove whatever menstrual product you’re using,” says Gersh. Meaning, you’ll pull out your tampon, slip out your disc, or remove your cup.
Next, if you’re at a heavy stage of your cycle, the doctor will likely take a giant Q-tip to remove some blood still in the vaginal canal. “The blood can obscure the cervix and viewing,” she explains.
Then, the appointment will proceed as it would if you *didn’t* have your period.
“There would be no other changes,” says Gersh. “The patient won’t experience any additional pains or procedures just because they’re currently menstruating.”
It shouldn’t affect it at all!
Your gynecologist appointment typically won’t interfere with your cycle. It shouldn’t speed up the flow, change its consistency, or change the overall length.
“The only time going to the gynecologist might impact that rest of your cycle is if you’re getting a procedure or implantation,” says Gersh. For example, an IUD or rod implantation, or tubal ligation.
If you have more questions — or need a little extra reassurance — give your gynecologist’s office a ring before going!
Here’s what you might say:
- “I’m calling because I have an appointment tomorrow, and I’m going to be on my period. Can I ask you to check in with my doctor to make sure my flow won’t interfere with any of the things we’re doing tomorrow?”
- “Before I come in, I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be on my period. Is that OK?”
Asking these questions will give you the opportunity to confirm straight from the doctor’s mouth that it’s more than OK!
There is no medical reason to cancel or reschedule your appointment because you’re on your period.
In fact, if the reason you’re going to the doctor is that your menstrual cycle is causing your issues, it’s actually an ideal time for you to go.
But if it’s a routine checkup and you’d feel more comfortable coming the following week, go ahead and push the appointment. After all, your comfort is key.
Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.