Many women consider a visit to the OB/GYN an embarrassing experience and try to avoid it as much as possible.
However, you still need a check-up by your OB/GYN at least once a year because this annual visit will benefit your peace of mind on your health condition. A Pap smear is recommended once every three years.
Here are five reasons to keep that annual physical exam:
1. It gives you an overview of your well-being
OB/GYN visits are not just about your reproductive organs. During an average OB/GYN visit, your doctor will perform a physical exam to evaluate your vital signs, body mass index, check your abdomen area and lymph nodes.
You will also undergo a pelvic exam and several tests. If there is anything amiss with your health, your OB/GYN will detect it.
2. It helps with menstrual irregularities
If you notice your periods becoming irregular, it’s time to visit your OB/GYN. Irregular periods can be a warning sign of fertility problems.
Any changes in your menstrual cycle should be conveyed to your OB/GYN so that you can receive any necessary timely treatment.
3. It screens you for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Sexually active women should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea every year. If left untreated, these diseases can cause infertility.
Women with multiple partners should be more serious about STD screening because they are at a higher risk. Besides STD screening, an OB/GYN may also offer tests for bladder problems, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal and bone disease.
4. It ensures your birth control efforts are optimised
If you use a prescription method of birth control such as birth control pills, shots, patches, IUDs, or a vaginal ring, you must do a check-up with your OB/GYN annually.
A diaphragm needs to be readjusted at least every three years, after giving birth or if you undergo any weight changes.
If you need advice on conception or family planning, your OB/GYN is definitely the right person to consult.
5. It gives you important information
During your annual OB/GYN visit, you may learn many health tips such as how to self-examine your breasts, how to practice safe sex, and so on.
Your doctor will help you understand how to take care of your body. He or she will also show you what is normal and what is not so that you can detect possible issues and seek medical help early.
When it comes to your health, you must take the initiative. Take note of what is happening to your body and note it down to discuss the next time you have your OB/GYN appointment.
Symptoms worth noting include abnormal bleeding, recurring vaginal infection, painful sex and breast pain.
This article first appeared in Hello Doktor. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.