Why You Shouldn’t Skip Out on Your Yearly Visit to the Gynecologist
With the hectic schedules that make up our everyday lives, it is common that up-keeping with annual doctor visitations may sometimes take a seat on the back-burner. However, your overall health should always take center focus, and for women, an annual exam with your gynecologist is important to stay on top of your reproductive health.
Clear Communication and an Honest Conversation
Gynecological exams, also referred to as, a well-woman exam, are a great way to learn more about your health by asking your doctor any general or concerning questions. Your gynecologist may discuss an array of topics such as:
- Different birth control options
- Sex safe practices
- Breast changes
- Preconception counseling and fertility
Opening the conversation with your doctor is a great way to maintain your gynecologic health as well as to build a level of comfort with your gynecologist in order to have these discussions and screenings on a yearly basis.
Finding a Good Starting Point
Initial examinations with a gynecologist should begin between the ages of 13 to 15 years old. Whether the examination is conducted with a primary care physician or a gynecologist, these initial examinations are vital to keep the everchanging stages of body development on track, as well as practice good health habits for the future.
When women reach the age of 21, whether they are sexually active or not, it is strongly encouraged that pelvic exams, in conjunction with pap smears, become integrated into those annual check-ups. However, if there are any concerning menstruation or pelvic issues, it is never too early to see your doctor.
A Gynecological Exam is Preventative Care
A fundamental part to any well woman exam is a pelvic exam, which are crucial in determining the overall state of your gynecological health. Your gynecologist will check for any abnormalities in your vulva, ovaries, vagina, cervix, and uterus. Examining for any ovarian cysts is yet another reason to practice preventative measures and schedule that yearly appointment to ensure they do not develop into a possible cancerous stage.
Discussing any vaginal infections with your doctor is also a great way to ensure there are not any greater underlining issues, and that the reproductive health of your body receives the attention it needs.
In conjunction with a pelvic exam your gynecologist may conduct a pap smear. These screenings allow the detection of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HPV, that could lead to cervical cancer. According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer found in women, and although it is highly treatable if detected early, it is still essential to visit your doctor as a preventative measure against its risk. Screening for STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can also have long term consequences if not treated early.
Your health should always take centerfold in your everyday life, and scheduling your yearly well-woman checkup is another way of ensuring it.