OBGYN Annual Exams
An annual exam with an OBGYN or trained women’s’ health care provider is one of the most important preventative steps you can take to protect your long-term wellbeing. Consider your annual well woman visit to be a valuable opportunity for early detection and prevention of health problems and an important chance to talk to your provider about women’s health topics that are relevant to your age and current needs.
Because Pap smear guidelines have recently changed from once a year to once every three years for average risk patients, many women assume that they no longer need an annual exam. However, your once-a-year visit is about so much more than just this one (albeit important) screening.
Here are a few reasons why it’s necessary to be proactive and continue to visit your women’s healthcare provider every year:
Health and lifestyle coaching:
It’s been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine.” This wisdom extends to obstetrics and gynecology. Consider your doctor not just to be a care provider, but a trusted ally in your overall wellness. Annual exams are a terrific opportunity to address concerns about improving and optimizing your nutrition, fitness and overall quality of life. During your exam, your doctor will evaluable your cardiovascular risk factors such a blood pressure, weight, and risk for complications like diabetes to make sure you are in your healthiest state for your age.
STD screening and prevention:
There are a number of infections that can be spread by sexual contact, including but not limited to bacteria, viruses and yes, even parasites. And while many patients think that STDs are just a “young person’s problem”, not so fast – one of the fastest growing populations with STDs are older adults. While STD testing is not always a routine part of an annual exam, it is something you can request at any time should you feel you need it. Remember one important thing: the worst STD status is “unknown”. Your doctor can also advise you on safe sex practices like condoms, dental dams, and female condoms to help you prevent exposure.
Cervical cancer isn’t the only cancer your doctor will screen for at your exam. A routine breast exam can help to detect any lumps or masses that may need further testing or biopsy to determine if they are benign or cancerous. Your doctor can also coach you on how to perform your own breast exam at home to empower you to take more control of your health.
Sexual and emotional well-being:
Besides their physical health, we also care about your emotional and psychological health at Women’s Health Centers. Our trained and professional clinicians are here to listen if you have any concerns about sex such as painful intercourse, changes in sex drive, or any issues that may be affecting your sex life. Everything you say will be strictly confidential, and we are always available to listen to our patients. Additionally, if you feel that you are a victim of sexual or domestic abuse, we have resources available to get you the help you need.
Birth control and contraception:
Family planning is an essential part of healthcare for pre-menopausal women. And did you know that many women can unexpectedly conceive well into their 40s? With this in mind, it’s important to keep your healthcare provider updated on your contraception needs so we can help you learn about the right birth control method for you. Whether you’re interested in an IUD, condoms, the pill, patch, or an implant, we will partner with our patients to find the best method for their unique needs and correctly use it for maximum effectiveness against unwanted pregnancy.
Conception and fertility support:
Thinking about welcoming a new family member? Your annual visit is a great chance to take advantage of our conception and preconception support. We’ll talk with you about diet, lifestyle, stress, health conditions and any other factors that could affect your chance of becoming pregnant and the long-term health of yourself and your unborn baby.