Ladies, when was the last time you went to the gynecologist?
If the answer is never, then a trip to the Gynecology Clinic at the Student Health Center may be just what the doctor ordered.
For over 10 years, the Gynecology Clinic has provided female students with a free one-hour class through the LSU Student Health Center that covers topics including pelvic exams, pap smears, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and contraceptive measures.
According to Student Health Center Wellness and Promotion director Rebecca Fontenot, the class is intended to serve as a precursor for annual examinations, which are also offered at the clinic. It's recommended that all women have an annual exam performed once they are 21 years of age or when they become sexually active.
“We want our students to have the class so they have the most information available when they’re making decisions during their annual exam appointment,” Fontenot said.
The class gives female students a full perspective of a woman’s cycle and what they can expect during an appointment. They also touch on STIs and the ins and outs of contraceptive method options. Fontenot said this helps make students more comfortable, especially those who have never had an annual exam.
“They’re just more comfortable and more knowledgeable about their questions that they want to ask their provider,” Fontenot said.
The class is typically given in a group setting. However, those who feel uncomfortable being in a group can also schedule a one-on-one appointment with a wellness educator. The educator will meet with the student individually and talk them through the class while tailoring the discussion to their specific needs.
However, Fontenot said the students who take the class in a group setting benefit from the comfort of community and the questions asked by their peers.
Many female students, including Environmental Engineering sophomore Catherine Smith, are unaware of the class and the benefits of having an annual exam performed.
"I would have definitely taken advantage of that class if I would have known," Smith said.
Smith also noted that female students at the University would benefit from having the class advertised throughout the campus.
There are six class offerings for the fall semester to choose from. Appointments are required to take the class, which can be made online or over the phone.