Why you should always keep your yearly OB/GYN visit
Women were thrilled to learn they no longer needed a yearly Pap smear when cervical cancer screening recommendations changed a few years ago. However, a Pap smear is not the only important part of an annual well-woman visit with an OB/GYN.
Kerry Sims, MD, gynecologist, shared that while you may only need a Pap test every 3–5 years, you should still visit your gynecologist annually for a check-up. “Annual gynecologic exams are among the most important ways for women to receive preventive health screening and education specific to their health needs,” she said.
A gynecologist is trained to care for women from adolescence through older age and understands a woman’s changing healthcare needs.
What is addressed during a yearly check-up with a gynecologist?
During a yearly exam, your gynecologist can discuss with you:
- Birth control
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Screenings and prevention
- Vaginal infections
- Menstrual problems
- Pelvic pain
- Sexual function
- Preconception counseling
- Menopausal symptoms
- Bone health
- Urinary leakage
- Breast changes
Many conditions that affect women’s health, including the human papilloma virus (HPV), cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, can exist without any signs or symptoms. Regular screening with gynecologic exams and tests can detect these conditions at earlier stages when they can be treated most effectively.
Additionally, gynecologists counsel women on ways to stay healthy including diet, exercise, smoking cessation, mental health and vaccinations. “We help you stay on top of all your changing healthcare needs,” said Dr. Sims.