As women get older, they have different needs that will need to be met by a variety of doctors. Screening becomes more important, especially when problems have been discovered in the past. If you are a woman who is no longer getting a period, it's still important to meet with a gynecologist for routine screenings to ensure that your health is being protected. While you may not need a yearly pelvic exam and pap smear, it is recommended that you have one at least every three years, even if you are no longer in your child-bearing years.
What Your Gynecologist Is Testing For
You will be tested for human papilloma virus, and possibly for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. If you believe you are at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, it is in your best interest to be very honest with your medical provider. HPV is a virus that you can contract and that is responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. When cervical cancer is caught in the early stages, it is one of the most curable cancers today. Women who have had a total hysterectomy do not have to have pap smears or HPV testing unless the hysterectomy was done as a treatment for early signs of cervical cancer.
40 to 65 Years Old
Your gynecologist can talk with you about the health concerns you may be facing as you reach middle age. You may see many changes in your body, and menopause symptoms can wreak havoc with your overall well-being. Talk with your gynecologist about treatment options if you believe menopausal symptoms are causing problems with your daily life. While your primary-care physician will be able to help you during this time in your life, a gynecologist specializes in health issues that affect women throughout the life span.
When You've Reached 65 Years Old
Some women believe that once they have reached retirement age, they will no longer need to visit with a gynecologist on a yearly basis. This is a risk that you shouldn't take. Although chances of cervical cancer are greatly reduced with normal pap smears up until this age, there are other unique concerns women face when they reach their sixties. Breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer chances rise with age, and it's important to go for exams with your gynecologist each year, as early detection is always your best defense. To live your best life, you should visit your gynecologist every year.
When was the last time you went to your OBGYN for an exam? I skipped two of my bi-yearly exams because I didn't feel that they were necessary. When I began experiencing extreme cramping in my lower stomach, I knew that something was wrong. I went to the emergency room and found that I had cervical cancer. Since I skipped those important exams, the cancer had progressed significantly. So, why should you go to your OB when you don't feel sick, uncomfortable or have any health issues? My blog will show you exactly what early detection can do when you have cancer.