Every woman can benefit from visiting their OBGYN once a year.
Preventive medical care is the most effective way to protect our patients from developing various illnesses or issues. Furthermore, regular preventive care means that your OBGYN can detect problems early on when they are easier to treat. If it’s your first time visiting your gynecologist for care, you may wonder what to expect and why these visits are crucial for all women. Here’s what you should know,
When should a woman start visiting a gynecologist?
A young woman’s first visit to the gynecologist will begin between 11 and 18 years old. While some girls may choose to turn to their pediatrician, reproductive concerns and issues are often best addressed by a gynecologist who specializes in woman’s reproductive health. Other reasons a young woman should turn to a gynecologist include,
- Delayed puberty
- Menstrual cycle problems (e.g., heavy or painful periods)
- Contraceptive needs
- Sexual health questions or concerns
The first gynecological visit is a chance for you and your doctor to establish rapport and trust with one another to rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality care possible. During the first visit, a physical examination may not even be necessary. A gynecologist will spend most of the first visit talking with their young patient and answering any questions they may have about their developing body, sexuality, and menstruation. A gynecologist can provide helpful advice and insight. A pelvic exam is not typically part of this appointment unless the patient is sexually active. Otherwise, the first pelvic exam will naturally occur at age 21.
What happens during a routine gynecological visit?
Several things will occur during your annual well-woman visit, including,
- Going through your medical history
- Discussing issues you may be experiencing
- Performing a physical exam, which includes an internal pelvic exam (this exam looks for inflammation, pain, and other problems that could impact a woman’s reproductive organs)
- Performing a pap smear to check for pre-cancer or cancerous cells in the cervix
Why are these wellness checks with a gynecologist important?
These annual visits are essential for all women because it is the best way to protect against many reproductive issues, some of which could be life-threatening. Furthermore, these visits also allow your gynecologist to detect problems early on when they are treatable or even reversible. During your checkup, your gynecologist will screen for,
- Bladder disease
- Bone disease
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Breast, uterine and cervical cancer
A gynecologist can also provide women with contraception and educate them on safe-sex practices and answer any questions they may have about their reproductive health.