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Important Gynecological Visits [OBGYN Guide]
At different stages of a woman’s life, an OBGYN can offer a wide array of services to meet specific needs – from puberty, to the child-bearing years, to menopause and over. OBGYNs specialize in women’s health, and when it comes to that topic, every stage of a woman’s life is important. This article talks about some important gynecological visits at different stages of a woman’s life.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the first gynecological visit should happen between 13 and 15 years old. It offers the patient a chance to initiate a long-term relationship with her OBGYN.
The first visit often covers age-appropriate conversation about reproductive health topics, including menstruation, sex, contraceptives and evaluation of medical history. Usually, the doctor will perform a general examination and an external genital exam. There is usually no need for an internal pelvic examination (to check reproductive organs) unless there is a health problem. The ACOG also suggest women undergo Pap tests or Pap smears to test for cervical cancer starting from age 21. They will also get vaccinated for HPV, which is the most rampant STD and known to cause cervical disease.
Young women often have the same health requirements, including birth control and pregnancy prevention. Nowadays, birth control methods are safer, and various options are available, including patches, vaginal rings, birth control pills, IUDs, injections, condoms and natural family planning. The doctor will consider the risk factors, but most young women are healthy enough and suitable for any birth control method.
During pregnancy and ahead of parenthood, women need to visit an OBGYN so the doctor can check for risky pregnancy conditions that may affect the mother, the child or both. Doctors generally recommend a visit to the obstetrician ahead of conception to discuss risk factors and management plans particularly in the early months of pregnancy.
The OBGYN will want to ensure that the expectant mother takes prenatal vitamins or folic acid supplement to lower the risk of congenital disabilities. If the woman is interested, they can also conduct a carrier screen to test genetic disorders. Age and weight are risk factors mostly for women aged 40 and above.
OBGYNs offer fertility treatment where age is usually a factor. Women in their 20s with no risk factors are often advised to keep trying for about a year before medical intervention. For women in their 40s, nearing the end of reproductive abilities, the time may drop to three to four months. The doctor will perform an infertility evaluation to uncover the reason for non-conception.
Menopause, breast exams
Menopause indicates a transformation period for every woman. The symptoms associated with this stage often start right before or after menstruation stops. Some women may have it easy, while others may experience symptoms, such as hot flashes and related symptoms. The OBGYN may suggest hormone replacement therapy to alleviate the symptoms. Also, breast examination is crucial as women age. The American Cancer Society suggests that women with a moderate risk of breast cancer undergo yearly mammogram starting from age 40 or 45.
It is important that women continue to see the OBGYN regularly and be ready to discuss whatever health issues might be bothering them.
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