Annual gynecologist visits are very important because your doctor can discover conditions such as ovarian cysts, fibroids and cancer. Early detection often leads to a more optimistic prognosis.
Teens and Young Adults
A young woman should begin seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. The first visit is more of a discussion, as most girls will not need a pelvic exam. Among the topics doctors discuss are menstrual cycles, contraceptives and sexually transmitted disease prevention. The first appointment also can help young women get comfortable with an OB-GYN they can trust. At around 21 years of age, doctors perform a Pap smear to test for abnormal cervical cells, which can lead to cervical cancer.
Early 20s to Mid-40s
During this age range, doctors conduct breast, abdominal and pelvic exams, and discuss family medical history and concerns. Contraception and fertility become a focus. Women receive their first mammogram order at 40, unless there is a family history or other issue that warrants starting them sooner. Many doctors recommend getting a baseline mammogram at age 35.
Mid-40s to Mid-50s
On average, women are 51 years of age at natural menopause. However, a woman can start menopause as young as 40 or as late as 60. A woman is considered to have reached menopause after she has missed her menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months.
Some of the topics discussed during this age range are menstrual cycle changes, menopause symptoms, hormone options and sex drive. Your doctor will continue to perform all tests and procedures from before.
Mid-50s and Beyond
Significant changes occur during this stage of life. Increased hormonal changes may cause conditions such as vaginal dryness, pain, vulva changes, decreased desire and loss of bone density. Your doctor also may suggest a baseline bone density test, especially if you have a strong family history of osteoporosis.
Another common condition during this time is pelvic organ prolapse, which most commonly develops years after childbirth, after a hysterectomy or after menopause. At your annual appointment, your doctor can diagnose the stage of prolapse and recommend treatments and procedures to correct this issue.
Annual gynecologist visits throughout a woman’s life are crucial, as women require an expert in female anatomy to stay healthy.
– Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC has seven OB-GYNs and five advanced practice providers, with offices in Canton and Woodstock.