What to Know After Your OB-GYN Appointment

Knowing what to do next can be tricky. Discover new pointers for post–check-up.

January 11, 2022

First, we shared advice about how to prepare for your annual appointment. Once you leave the office, your doctor will send off your diagnostic test(s), and knowing what to do next can be difficult for you. Karla Loken, D.O., OB-GYN, FACOOG, U.S. disease area partner, and Liza Kunz, M.D., OB-GYN, MFM, FACOG, U.S. disease area network lead, are two Roche Diagnostics experts who help you understand how to move forward with your health after that annual gynecological appointment.


You went to your gynecologist. Here are 5 post-visit tips.   


  1. Wait for your results. Pap, cotesting and human papillomavirus (HPV) primary screening all return results in three to seven days. If you need additional testing, your doctor will let you know. 
  2. “Try not to worry, if you can see information about your tests in an online portal and your doctor hasn’t yet called,” Kunz said. Health information laws and the accessibility of electronic medical records mean it’s possible you could see your results before your doctor does. “Your physician will need time to check your chart and history before calling you with results and next steps.”

  3. What to do if you have abnormal test results. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is so common that every person who is sexually active is potentially at risk for exposure to HPV viruses. There are more than 100 types of HPV, of which at least 14 are cancer-causing. “HPV can lead to genital warts, cervical cancer and other types of cancer, although most HPV cases don’t,” said Kunz. “That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for your doctor to know the type of HPV virus so you can be tested and screened appropriately.” HPV test helps to identify individuals who are at highest risk of developing cervical cancer.
  4. There’s no treatment for HPV, but there are treatments for health problems HPV can cause. Genital warts caused by HPV can be treated by your healthcare provider or with prescription medication. Cervical precancer can be treated, too, but prevention is always better than treatment. Visit cancer.org to learn more.

  5. Schedule your next visit. If your results are normal, all you need to do is schedule your next annual exam. Your doctor will let you know if additional screening is needed in either three or five years based on medical guidelines. You still should be seen annually for your physical exam, and to address all other primary health screening needs. 
  6. Minimize your risk of cervical cancer. Routine screening is one of the most important steps you can take to identify your risk. The CDC also recommends vaccination for teens and young adults between the ages of 11 and 26. The vaccine is approved for adults up to age 45, so ask your healthcare provider if the vaccine is right for you.
  7. Do I need to be screened if I’m vaccinated? Yes. The HPV vaccines do not protect against all high-risk HPV types that can cause cancer. Therefore, experts recommend you continue to be screened for cervical cancer even after you’ve received the vaccine.

5 Tips to Get Your Cervical Health Back On Track

Visiting your gynecologist soon? See our tips for preparing for your annual OB-GYN appointment.


Karla Loken, D.O., OB-GYN, FACOOG, is board certified in OB-GYN and is a U.S. disease area partner for Roche medical and scientific affairs (MSA).


Liza Kunz, M.D., OB-GYN, MFM, FACOG, is board certified in OB-GYN and maternal-fetal medicine and is a U.S. disease area network lead for Roche MSA.