August 31, 2021
When many women think about their annual visit with their obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), they think of a Pap test. While this screening for cervical cancer is extremely important, it is no longer done every year and is just one of many reasons to see your health-care provider.
Menstrual concerns. Birth control. Childbirth. Menopause. Your OB-GYN will care for you through some of the most significant and sensitive health issues of your life. While these topics may be a bit uncomfortable to discuss, open conversation is key to your good health.
Learn how to make the most of your well-woman visit at every age.
Your OB-GYN Visit During Adolescence
Teens and young women under age 21 will want to discuss their menstrual cycles and sexual health needs with their gynecologist during their well-woman visit. It’s helpful to write down a list of questions so you don’t forget anything you want to ask.
When you first start having your menstrual cycle, it can be irregular and sometimes very heavy and painful. Your gynecologist can help you understand what may too irregular or too heavy.
Irregular periods aren’t always a sign of a problem. There are a number of reasons why you may have an irregular, missed or late period, ranging from stress to more serious medical conditions. Your gynecologist can determine the reason and help you manage your cycle.
Your OB-GYN Visit During Young Adulthood
For women in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, in additional to checking in with their OB-GYN about their overall reproductive health, pregnancy is often a topic of conversation.
Your doctor may ask if you are thinking about parenthood and if so, will discuss any health considerations to address beforehand. You may need to get some lab tests or begin taking prenatal vitamins.
If you are interested in getting pregnant but are having trouble conceiving or do not have a partner, your gynecologist can discuss reproductive and fertility services.
Your OB-GYN Visit During Perimenopause and Beyond
Women in their 40s and 50s who are in perimenopause—the transition phase right before menopause when some of the symptoms commonly associated with menopause occur—should be prepared to address their menstrual cycles, bodily changes, and sex drive.
You may be experiencing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and urinary incontinence. Your gynecologist can offer treatments to help manage your symptoms.
If you are post-menopausal, you’ll want to discuss health maintenance and cancer screening, including timing of mammograms, pap smears and bone density (DEXA) scans.
Schedule an Appointment
If an annual visit with your OB-GYN is already on your calendar…Hooray! If not, there’s no time like the present to take this important step for your good health.