Annual checkups with a gynecologist allow for preventive treatment and early detection of health problems. However, there are times when these routine visits are not enough. Certain issues and life changes require a visit to the gynecologist between regular checkups.While waiting until one’s next annual checkup may be okay, scheduling a visit between these appointments…
Women’s Health Services From an OBGYN
An obstetrician-gynecologist, or “OB-GYN,” provides routine and preventive women's health services. Obstetrics deals with pregnancy, labor, delivery, and managing the postpartum period, while gynecology focuses on female reproductive health and breast health. Whether you are planning to have a baby, are going through menopause, or have an issue you would like to check up on, visit the OB-GYN for help. There is a range of women’s health services that can help ensure good health at all life stages.
Most patients will visit the OB-GYN for a well-woman visit, which is simply a routine preventive checkup to ensure there are no issues with reproductive or overall health. This full checkup includes the following:
- Physical exam
- Medical history review
- Mental health screening
- Breast exam
- Pelvic exam
- Pap smear
The OB-GYN will likely order blood work to check for diabetes, cancers, high blood pressure, and other health conditions. They may also order tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STI testing is important even if the patient is in a long-term committed relationship, as chlamydia and gonorrhea spread asymptomatically among female patients. Further, there are other ways to get STIs, such as through contaminated needles (whether in a tattoo shop or medical setting), blood transfusions, etc.
Pelvic pain, abnormal periods, and breast changes
Patients will also have the chance to ask about any health problems they have been experiencing. Common examples include pelvic pain, ovulation pain, abnormal bleeding, and breast changes. The OB-GYN can order additional screening and tests as needed. If the issue is minor, they may be able to discuss treatment options during the well-woman visit.
An OB-GYN can prescribe contraceptives or birth control for patients who want to prevent pregnancy or control a hormonal imbalance, such as those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). OB-GYNs will ask questions and order screenings to help patients find the right birth control for their needs. Remember that there are also risk factors (patients at risk for blood clots cannot take birth control methods with additional estrogen, such as the combination pill).
There is both hormonal and non-hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control includes the birth control shot, pill, patch, and implant. Diaphragms and sponges are perhaps the most well-known forms of non-hormonal birth control. Intrauterine devices, or “IUDs,” can be either hormonal or non-hormonal, depending on the type.
Menopause management is another common women’s health service available through an OB-GYN. While some people have no trouble with menopause, it can bring a host of uncomfortable symptoms for others. Common examples include hot flashes, mood changes, trouble sleeping, and night sweats. Menopause can also increase one’s risk of developing medical conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, sexual dysfunction, and urinary incontinence. An OB-GYN can help patients manage their symptoms and prevent these serious medical conditions.
Sometimes surgery is the best option to treat certain medical conditions. An OB-GYN may recommend gynecological surgery if a patient is dealing with ovarian cysts, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease. Endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to uterine tissue grows outside the uterus, can also be treated with surgery.
Prenatal and postpartum care
As one of the most well-known women’s health services, prenatal care helps prepare parents for childbirth. This is especially important if the parent has a high-risk pregnancy. Typically, prenatal care should begin as soon as the patient finds out they are pregnant—according to the American Pregnancy Association, this tends to be at about four to seven weeks pregnant.
Prenatal care involves a series of regular checkups with an OB-GYN to ensure the pregnancy is progressing well. They will check blood pressure, weight, and the baby’s heart rate and growth. If problems arise, such as high blood pressure or a baby in a breech position, the OB-GYN can provide treatments and solutions.
On the other hand, postpartum care will deal with the time after childbirth. An OB-GYN will ensure the patient is recovering well and screen for mental health issues (e.g., postpartum depression and psychosis). They can also discuss how to space out births if the patient plans to have more children.
OB-GYNs will assist patients through labor and delivery. Having a child is a momentous occasion, and an OB-GYN and their team will work to ensure safe delivery. If the labor is prolonged or complications arise, they will be right there to address them. As such, OB-GYNs are trained to carry out a cesarean section (C-section) and guide a vaginal delivery.
Infertility treatment and alternative options
If a patient has been trying to get pregnant but has had no success in at least one year, they may benefit from infertility treatments. An OB-GYN may recommend treatment in the form of medication or lifestyle changes. If infertility treatment is unsuccessful, an OB-GYN may recommend alternative ways to have children, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Schedule a visit with an OB-GYN
OB-GYNs offer various women’s health services in addition to the ones listed above. Call our Fresno office to learn more about how we can help maintain your health.
Request an appointment here: https://fresnoobgyn.com or call Camilla L. Marquez, MD at (559) 424-1180 for an appointment in our Fresno office.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Women’s Health Services in Fresno, CA.
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