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Treatment Care & Tips

Importance of OB/GYN Visits for Women’s Health

Seeing an OB/GYN can be scary. So much so that some women never visit an OB/GYN. One visit each year is very important for all women.

Women should start seeing an OB/GYN for a well woman exam after their first period. This is usually between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. Visits to an OB/GYN should continue through teenage and child-bearing years to menopause and beyond.  Each stage of a woman’s life needs different screenings and tests to make sure they’re healthy.

 

Your OB/GYN is your best resource for women’s health. Even if you’re healthy, your well woman exam plays an important role in catching diseases and preventing issues. Your OB/GYN can provide a range of services that your regular doctor does not.

 

Have you visited your OB/GYN yet this year? If not, here are the top six reasons why it’s important to visit sooner rather than later.

 

1. Reduce the risk of cancer
Women 21 years and older should get a yearly pelvic exam and a pap smear every three years, depending on their risk or previous test results (sometimes your doctor might want you to come back yearly)1. Women over 30 can extend the amount of time between testing to 5 years if they also get a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test. These screenings can help identify issues like infection, tumors, urinary problems and cancer2. It is not the most pleasant experience, but these simple, quick tests are just as important as breast exams.

 

2. Get a breast exam
Hopefully you’ve learned to give yourself a monthly self-breast exam, but having this done by an OB/GYN once a year is also important. The provider can identify any less obvious signs of breast cancer that you might have missed in your self-exam. You should have a breast exam every one to three years starting at the age of 30. You should get a mammogram every year once you turn 40.

You should have a breast exam every one to three years starting at the age of 30. A breast exam does not replace a mammogram. A mammogram  is the best way to identify breast cancer. Most women should get a mammogram once every other year starting at age 50 years. Talk to your doctor to find out when you should start getting a mammogram.

 

3. Discuss your period
This is your chance to discuss any issues you may have been having related to your period. Some issues to discuss include:

  • Suddenly random or irregular periods
  • Bleeding for a long time or longer than normal
  • If some months pass without a period,
  • Lots of pain with your period

 

You should visit your OB/GYN right away if you have any of these symptoms. Ignoring them may lead to serious issues in the future.

 

4. Discuss sexual health
Your OB/GYN can review sexual activity to address issues like sexual function, safe practices, prevention and testing of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

 

5. Discuss reproductive health
Your OB/GYN is the best provider to talk to about family planning or birth control options.  They can help you decide what birth control options are best for you. You can also talk to them about fertility or becoming pregnant.

 

6. Support a healthy pregnancy
Visiting your OB/GYN regularly can help keep you and your future baby healthy during your pregnancy. Regular visits help to catch potential concerns and can lower your risk of problems.

 

7. Visit your OB/GYN 
After you have your baby, you will want to make sure you see your OB/GYN for a postpartum checkup. Your OB/GYN will make sure your body is healing properly. They will check on your mental and physical health.

 

These are just a few reasons why a yearly visit to your OB/GYN is so important. If something is going on with your body that you don’t know about, a checkup with your OB/GYN could make a big difference.

Image Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists3

  1. https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Well-Woman-Visit
  2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25854/do-you-really-need-to-see-a-gynecologist-every-year.html
  3. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Annual-Well-Woman-Exam-Infographic

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