If you are a woman of child-bearing age, you have probably visited the gynecologist. Many women wonder how often they should make these appointments. For most women, it is a good idea to schedule these appointments annually. Here are five reasons why it is vital to see your gynecologist once per year.
General Health Exam
For many women, their annual appointment with their gynecologist is the only time during the year that they see a doctor. This is particularly true if you do not have any underlying health issues that necessitate that you see a doctor regularly.
Many gynecologists are equipped to perform general health exams, including taking routine bloodwork and providing guidance on other health issues. For example, a gynecologist is trained to help you to find solutions for issues specific to women, such as UTI relief.
Another important component of any gynecological exam is the breast exam. In order to catch breast cancer early, it is recommended to have a trained professional perform a manual exam in addition to your monthly self-exams. A gynecologist will also be able to educate you about when you should start scheduling mammogram examinations.
As part of this exam, the doctor will also check for lumps, skin changes, or any other type of nipple abnormalities. You are never too young to take your breast health seriously. An annual appointment with the gynecologist will ensure that you are staying on top of the latest screening recommendations. These recommendations change often, making it important that you stay in the know.
One of the most important elements of a gynecological exam is the Pap smear. Depending on your level of sexual activity, your age, and your past medical history, these recommendations may fluctuate. Your health care provider will be able to provide recommendations about how often you should receive a Pap smear.
This type of exam checks for signs of cervical cancer or precancerous cells. In addition, your gynecologist will be able to provide a comprehensive pelvic exam. This type of exam will check the reproductive organs for masses, abnormalities, and growths that may be out of the norm.
Mental Health Assessment
A gynecologist is also trained to spot mental and emotional health issues. Do not be shy about expressing any concerns that you may have about this part of your health to your doctor.
For some women, the gynecologist may be the first medical care provider that they consult about potential issues such as anxiety or depression. A gynecologist may also be the first person to spot the signs of an eating disorder. While most gynecologists do not have specific training in these mental health issues, they will be able to point you in the right direction should you need further evaluation or help.
Most women go to their gynecologist to prescribe birth control. This is the best professional to give you advice about choosing between the use of the birth control pill, an IUD, the shot or patch, or other types of contraception. If you choose the pill, you will need to visit the gynecologist every year in order to renew your prescription.
A gynecologist will be able to help you to determine the right type of birth control for your personal needs and preferences. Checking with them once per year will ensure that your birth control is working correctly for you.
As all things health-related, it is always better to be proactive and err on the side of caution. You will enjoy more peace of mind if you stay on top of these annual appointments.