09 Aug Well Woman: The Importance of An Annual Gynecologist Exam
Did you know that gynecology appointment attendance has decreased by almost 20% in the last 20 years? If your yearly exams are approaching, you might think about skipping the gynecologist, as many others do. This is a big mistake.
Your annual gynecologist exam isn’t always the most comfortable appointment, but it’s just as important as the others. Visiting your gynecologist provides preventative care so you can stay proactive about your health. In addition, it allows you a safe place to address any concerns you might feel shy to discuss.
If it’s been a while since you’ve made an appointment with the gynecologist, it’s time to check in. Read on to learn about all the reasons not to put it off!
Regular testing is essential to staying healthy. Whether it’s a sexually transmitted infection, cancer, or anything other condition, early detection is key to a quick recovery.
STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, if left untreated, can have some serious long-term effects. They can lead to infertility, chronic pain, and even pelvic inflammatory disease. Sometimes these illnesses present without obvious symptoms, making them difficult for you to detect on your own.
Other STI tests should also be done to detect HIV, syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis. These tests will be conducted based on your risk factors.
Experts recommend regular testing for all sexually active women under the age of 25. In addition, women with multiple partners should also get tested regularly.
You’ll also have to get a pap smear. This is many women’s least favorite part of the exam, but it’s one of the most important! This test is essential for detecting cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) before they get serious.
In addition, your gynecologist will conduct a clinical breast exam to detect lumps or abnormalities in your breast tissue. They can also teach you how to perform a self-examination so you can regularly check yourself for any issues. For women over 40, an annual mammogram is recommended to detect breast cancer.
Your gynecologist can also conduct several health tests like bone density testing, diabetes testing, and other support tests.
Your gynecologist can help you find the best form of birth control for your lifestyle. The most common form of birth control is the pill, but this means sticking to a consistent schedule. In addition, it can cause side effects.
The side effects of any form of birth control depend on your personal hormone levels, so your gynecologist can help you find the one that synergizes with your body chemistry.
In addition to pills, your gynecologist can offer an implant or an IUD, a small T-shaped device inserted into the uterus that prevents conception. The IUD has hormones that stay in the area. Unlike the pill, these hormones don’t directly enter the bloodstream so side effects tend to be less strong.
Birth control is a very personal decision, but your gynecologist can act as an experienced guide, finding the right method for you.
Your gynecologist can also help you overcome fertility concerns. If you’ve been trying to conceive and are having trouble, your gynecologist can help you identify hormone imbalances and underlying conditions that are impacting your ability to get pregnant.
After conception, they can guide your prenatal care, identify any risk to your pregnancy, and maintain your health as well as your baby’s.
Your Gynecologist Through the Years
Your gynecologist is a partner for life. In fact, it’s recommended that patients start seeing a gynecologist during their teenage years.
The more history they have with you, the better understanding they’ll have of your lifestyle and potential risks. This makes them more able to guide a treatment plan.
Menopause affects everyone and can come with lots of unpleasant side effects like hot flashes, headaches, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. They can help you treat the symptoms and evaluate the possibility of hormone therapy.
Menopause is the result of falling and unstable levels of hormones. Hormone therapy is one very effective treatment for menopause, restoring the level of hormones to a more natural and sustainable one.
In addition, if you’re done having kids, your doctor can help recommend if a hysterectomy is right for you. A hysterectomy can relieve symptoms like pelvic pain, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and more.
No Subject Taboo
Your gynecologist is an expert and a professional. There’s nothing they haven’t seen or experienced. Don’t be embarrassed about any questions to ask your gynecologist at your yearly exam.
Whatever you’re experiencing, your doctor wants to know. Share any pains, smells, discharge, or concerns about sexual function with them. The sooner it’s addressed, the sooner it can be treated.
For example, more than 25% of women experience pelvic floor dysfunction resulting in incontinence. Of these women, 90% keep their condition secret because they feel embarrassed. But, a brief discussion with a gynecologist can help identify the cause of the dysfunction and allow for a treatment plan.
Your gynecologist should always be caring and compassionate about any concern you bring to them. If they aren’t, seek a different provider. Your health care is a sensitive partnership, and you should always feel comfortable with the care you receive.
Don’t Put Off Your Annual Gynecologist Exam
Be proactive about your health care by staying on top of your appointments. Your annual gynecologist exam is a way to prevent serious conditions and start growing a family. In addition, it’s a judgment-free zone for you to discuss any concerns you may have.
If you’re looking for a gynecologist in NYC, look no further than 67th Street ObGyn. Our doctors are experienced, professional, and you can rest assured that you’re in good hands!