Frequently Asked Questions: Gynecology
Seattle OB/GYN providers and staff are happy to answer questions. Please see below for some common questions in gynecology. If your question is not answered below, please call our ofﬁce during regular business hours and we will be happy to answer your question. If you have an emergency after regular business hours, you may call our main phone number directly to reach our answering service.
Birth control related questions:
Do I need to take my birth control pill at the same time each day?
- We recommend you take your birth control pill at the same time each day so you get in the
habit of taking the pill and do not miss any pills.
- It can be helpful to set an alarm for the same time each day to remind you to take your birth control
What do I do if I forget to take one of my birth control pills?
- If you have forgotten to take one birth control pill within the last 24 hours, take it as soon as
you remember and resume taking the pill as instructed. This means you may take two pills
in one day.
- If it has been more than 24 hours since you’ve taken your last birth control pill, please call
Do I need to use condoms during the “placebo” week of my pill?
- We recommend the use of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections. If you have
taken your birth control pills as instructed, you do not need to use a condom as a form of
birth control during the “placebo” or “sugar pill” week.
What do I do if my birth control prescription runs out before I have my appointment for my
- If you have an annual exam appointment scheduled, we will refill your prescription for one
Annual Exam related questions:
What should I expect to have done at my first annual exam?
- At a well-women’s exam, the provider will perform a head-to-toe physical exam.
- A pelvic exam with a speculum exam will be performed if indicated by age.
- Routine cervical cancer screening will be collected by Pap smear if indicated.
If I’m having my period, do I need to reschedule my annual exam?
- If it is the beginning or end of your period and you are having light bleeding, you may keep
your annual exam appointment.
- If you are having heavy bleeding, we recommend you reschedule your annual exam if you
are a due for a Pap smear.
How often do I need to get a Pap smear?
- ASCCP guidelines recommend starting to screen with a Pap smear at the age of 21 even if you are
sexually active before the age of 21.
- If you have no history of abnormal Pap smear results, ASCCP screening guidelines recommend a Pap smear once every 3 years.
- Screening guidelines for a Pap smear depend on previous screening results and may be more frequent than every 3 years.
How often do I need to be seen for an annual exam?
- It is recommended that you be seen once a year for a full physical or well-woman exam even if you do not need a Pap smear every year.
Do I need to see my doctor for an annual exam?
- No. At Seattle OB/GYN we have Certified Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners and Physician
Assistants that perform routine, physical exams.
Do I need a referral to get a mammogram done?
- If you have reached the age for recommended, routine screening (40 years or older) your
insurance company may require a referral from your provider. Please contact your
insurance company to find out if you need a referral from your provider for a routine
Can I be seen for an annual exam prior to when I am due for one?
- Most insurance companies will not reimburse for annual exams performed within 12 months
from the last exam. Please contact your insurance company to determine if the cost of your
visit and any desired or recommended testing will be covered.
Can I do a “full blood panel” at my annual exam?
- At Seattle OB/GYN Group, we specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. There is no universal full blood panel and recommended blood tests for a healthy adult are based on age.
- Your provider can order blood tests if indicated based on personal medical history or age, but will refer you to a primary care provider or specialist if blood results are abnormal.
STI related questions:
How soon can I screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
after possible exposure?
- Exposure to a sexually transmitted infection can be scary. If you are exposed to an STI your
body needs time to respond and testing cannot be performed immediately.
- Early testing is limited and we recommend you schedule an appointment 2 to 4 weeks after
your most recent exposure.
What sexually transmitted infections (STIs) do you screen for?
- Recommended screening may vary depending on signs and symptoms.
- Collection techniques vary depending on the type of STI.
- Routine screening typically includes screening for the following infections:
- Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Herpes Simplex Virus Type I and II
IUD related questions:
Can I get an IUD placed at the same time as my annual exam?
- No. Having an IUD inserted is a procedure that requires a separate visit. You may discuss
the risks, benefits and procedure process at an annual exam.
- It normally takes approximately 2 weeks for an IUD to be ordered and pre-approved through insurance.
Can I have an IUD “recheck” when I am having my period?
Yes. A common side effect after having an IUD placed, is irregular bleeding or frequent
spotting for the 1st 3 to 6 months.
- We recommend you have a “recheck” appointment 4 to 6 weeks after your IUD is placed.
How long until my IUD is effective for birth control?
- It is recommended you use a back-up form of birth control for a minimum of 7 days after
your IUD insertion.
How long will my IUD last?
- Your IUD will be effective for 3 to 10 years depending on the type of IUD you have placed.
- You may have your IUD removed by your provider before it expires if you are desiring to get
pregnant or experience adverse side effects.
How soon after I have my IUD removed can I get pregnant?
- An IUD is considered immediately reversible.