Sexual Health: Reasons Why you Shouldn’t Miss your Annual Appointment
When was the last time you went to the doctor when you weren’t feeling ill? Do you ever make appointments just to make sure you’re maintaining your health? I’m sure for most of you reading this, the answer is a resounding “no”.
Let’s talk about the importance of making the time for that annual well-woman visit. Annual exams are 100% covered because of the Affordable Care Act, which eliminates certain barriers and you are able to take the time to check in with your doctor about your health.
Importance of Exams
It is important to consider the critical screening that happens during this appointment. Your physician performs a breast exam, a pelvic exam, a pap smear (every 3-5 years), and can check for STIs and other vaginal infections. Blood pressure, weight, and a brief physical exam provide a well-rounded snapshot of your current health. Regular health exams can detect problems early on, making issues easier to treat. Early detection and treatment for sexually transmitted infections may help to avoid serious adverse reproductive consequences in the future.
General Health Check Up
It is also a great time to talk to your doctor about what’s been going on with you in the last year. If you’re on birth control, do you like the contraceptive measures you’re taking? Are you interested in getting off of birth control to start trying to conceive? How are you feeling from a mental health perspective? Are you having any other reproductive or gynecological issues that you want to address more thoroughly? Finding a physician you can trust for these more personal questions helps in encouraging follow-up on a more frequent basis.
Obstetrician/Gynecologists and Primary Care Physicians can usually perform all that is needed during an annual visit. The most important thing is working with a physician you can trust and establishing a long-term relationship and plan of care.