Not many women actively look forward to visiting the gynecologist. There’s nothing particularly fun about having a doctor examine a private and sensitive area on your body or ask acutely intimate questions.

Even so, girls as young as 13, young women, and those advanced in age can all benefit from regular visits to check up on their reproductive health. Finding the right gynecologist in Manhattan, though, makes a significant difference in helping you feel comfortable and empowered during these appointments.

If everything seems to be working well and you haven’t observed any issues with your reproductive health, you may be tempted to skip your visit to the gynecologist, but there are benefits to consistency.

Maintaining a relationship with a gynecologist from when you are a young teenager – the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first visit take place between the ages of 13 and 15 – can help your doctor get to know you personally. They can track changes throughout the years, make sure you get appropriate vaccines, better understand your health, and more easily detect when something seems amiss, according to GirlsHealth.gov, which is owned and maintained by the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

When you have a relationship with your gynecologist, you also may feel more at ease opening up about intimate issues and being honest during difficult times or when you’re experiencing a situation that is detrimental to your reproductive health.

WebMD gives this reminder: “Your ob-gyn is your partner in reproductive health. Carry on that partnership by making and keeping your annual appointments.”

You won’t necessarily have to get a Pap test or pelvic exam – which can be sources of consternation for some people – from the get-go or at every appointment. Most of the time, unless you have symptoms, a history of issues, or are sexually active, you won’t need either until you are 21, states GirlsHealth.gov.

The Pap test, however, is incredibly important for checking the cells in your cervix for any changes that point toward cancer or could eventually lead to cancer. These abnormalities, along with sexually transmitted diseases, are often not detectable on your own because they may not come with symptoms, another reason seeing a gynecologist regularly is beneficial. The earlier you detect and treat problems, the better off you’ll be, in most cases.

While you should not forego gynecologist appointments, though they might make you nervous, you can and should take steps to mitigate the stress of the situation or feel more supported. You can request a female doctor, or to have a female nurse, female assistant, mom, sister or friend with you during the visit. Ask questions to be well-informed and feel in control of your reproductive health. Most importantly, choose a trusted gynecologist in Manhattan who makes you feel at ease during every appointment.