June 28, 2023/Women's Health

Can You Go to Your Gynecologist Appointment When You’re on Your Period?

Typically, you can keep your appointment, let your gynecologist know and let your worries go

female at gynecologists' appointment

It can be a lot to keep up with all of your various medical appointments. But regularly seeing a gynecologist is an important part of your healthcare routine.But what happens when your appointment with your gynecologist lines up with when you have your period?


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

It happens — and for the most part, it’s totally OK. There are only a couple of exceptions, but as long as you’re speaking with your healthcare provider, there’s no need to reschedule your appointment if your time of the month overlaps.

Ob/Gyn Ashley Brant, DO, MPH, clears up the confusion of whether it’s OK to visit your provider if your monthly visitor has arrived at an inopportune time.

The importance of visiting your gynecologist

Seeing your gynecologist is important for many reasons. A gynecologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the female reproductive system, and visiting them regularly can help you maintain good reproductive and vaginal health, as well as catch any issues early on.

Here are just some of the reasons why seeing your gynecologist annually is important:

  • Pap smears and cervical cancer screenings: Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB), and regular Pap smears and cervical cancer screenings can help detect any abnormal cells or changes in your cervix before they develop into cancer.
  • Breast exams: A gynecologist can perform breast exams to check for any lumps, cysts or other abnormalities in your breasts, which can help detect breast cancer early on.
  • Birth control: A gynecologist can provide information on and prescribe various forms of birth control to help prevent unintended pregnancies.
  • STI testing: A gynecologist can perform tests, which is especially important if you’re sexually active.
  • Menstrual irregularities: If you’re experiencing irregular periods or other menstrual issues, a gynecologist can help diagnose and treat the underlying causes.
  • Immunizations: Your annual check-up is a great time to get vaccines you may need.
  • Overall health: You can discuss routine health maintenance topics with your gynecologist.

Seeing your gynecologist regularly is an important part of maintaining good reproductive health and overall wellness. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends having your first gynecological appointment between the ages of 13 and 15 (though, Pap tests usually begin at age 21).

Should you cancel your gyno appointment if you get your period?

Let’s face it, that “time of the month” can be a delicate one for many people.So, you may be understandably anxious to go to your gyno appointment when your period starts.

“I always remind people that your provider is used to examining people who are bleeding or who have complaints of discharge,” Dr. Brant notes. “Things that you think are embarrassing are not embarrassing to your provider. Since it can be sometimes challenging to reschedule, I usually encourage them to keep the appointment.”


And, in fact, there are times when being on your period is a good thing. For example, it’s ideal to insert an IUD if you’re menstruating — though it’s not necessary. And if you want to start a prescription birth control method or get a birth control injection for the first time, it’s best to do that at the beginning of your menstrual cycle, as you know you aren’t pregnant.

Here’s when you shouldn’t go to your appointment

Of course, there are always exceptions.

If you’re having very heavy bleeding (that is, soaking through a pad or tampon every hour) or passing clots, this might be the time when Dr. Brant recommends rescheduling.

“That degree of bleeding could make it challenging to do an effective exam,” she says. However, she also recommends that you should speak to your gynecologist if you have that much bleeding.

“Cramping won’t affect the exam in most cases, so the only concern is if you’re too uncomfortable,” she adds. “In this situation, I’d recommend taking an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen before your appointment to minimize discomfort.”

Can you get a Pap smear or pelvic exam during your period?

Interestingly enough, the process for Pap smears and pelvic exams has changed over the years.

Gynecologists often told women to reschedule their pelvic exams because of the way Pap tests work,” says Dr. Brant. “Before now, the presence of blood could make it harder to interpret the pap results.”


Luckily, technology has improved the process so much that it’s rarely a concern anymore. And it’s a good thing, too, as Pap smears are such an important part of your reproductive health.

“Because of the sophisticated tests we have, I rarely recommend someone skips this lifesaving appointment,” Dr. Brant stresses. We use your yearly exam to screen for health problems and perform recommended tests.”

What to expect during a gynecologist visit on your period

If you’re already at the appointment and feeling symptoms of your period, be sure to be open about it.When the nurse or medical assistant brings you into the room, I’d recommend you let them know you’re menstruating,” suggests Dr. Brant.

That way they can put something on the exam table to absorb the blood, if needed. You can also either ask to use the restroom to remove a tampon or take it out and dispose of it when you’re undressing and putting on a gown.

Seeing your gynecologist can be a vulnerable experience at times, but as Dr. Brant points out, it’s a crucial way to stay on top of your health. And it’s normal to feel a little extra wary when you’re on your period. But your healthcare provider and their team are there to make you as comfortable as possible during your appointment and to help you understand your body better. That means it’s OK to see them when you’re menstruating — and it’s also OK to let them know if you feel uncomfortable or uneasy for any reason.

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Female sitting in chair at home staring into the distance, phone in hand
April 3, 2024/Women's Health
Why Is My Period Lasting So Long?

From medications and stress to PCOS and STIs, there’s a wide range of reasons Aunt Flo may overstay her welcome

Female clutching abdomen
March 14, 2024/Women's Health
Period Blood Clots: Should You Be Concerned?

Although it can be alarming, it’s normal to experience blood clots during menstruation

Female patient at doctor office discussing concerns and issues
March 12, 2024/Women's Health
Bleeding Between Periods? How To Tell if It’s a Problem

Reasons for spotting can include menopause, uterine fibroids, PCOS and birth control

woman in discomfort lying down on couch
November 5, 2023/Women's Health
What Is ‘Period Flu’? How Your Period Can Cause Flu-Like Symptoms

Hormonal changes are the likely culprits behind the aches and fatigue before your period

female getting a shot in arm
July 26, 2023/Women's Health
Will a COVID-19 Vaccine Throw Your Period Off?

Irregularities in cycle length and flow aren’t a cause for concern

woman with hormonal acne along cheek and jaw
July 25, 2023/Women's Health
The Breakout Breakdown: Why You Get Acne Around Your Period

Hormone fluctuations impact oil and sebum production, creating painful, tender pimples

Person holding tampon by string.
May 9, 2023/Women's Health
What’s the Best Tampon Size To Use?

It depends on your menstrual flow, and a little trial and error

woman checking menstrual cycle on calendar
April 19, 2023/Women's Health
8 Reasons Why Your Period Is Late

Stress, extreme diet and exercise, PCOS and, of course, pregnancy could be responsible

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey