May is Women’s Health Month, and in light of this, we want to remind you why it’s important to show up for your yearly gyno appointment.
While visiting your OB/GYN might be uncomfortable or inconvenient at times, it’s important to stay on top of your intimate health. It’s investing in yourself!
The Standard Appointment
At most run-of-the-mill gyno visits, they will start with the basics: you’ll go over your family history, and the staff will take your weight/height/blood pressure.
Then, the fun stuff: you’ll likely be asked to get undressed and wear a “fashionable” medical gown. At this point, your doctor will ask about anything on your mind (likely centered around your sexual health and anything you’ve been experiencing). You may also have a breast exam and pelvic exam.
Prevention is the Word
An annual exam is crucial, even if you haven’t experienced anything abnormal. The benefit of going every year means that, if something unusual does occur, it will be caught super quickly. Early detection is key to staying healthy and on top of things!
One-Stop-Shop for Intimate Health
Here are some things you can talk about with your gynecologist at your annual appointment (or sooner) if you have something on your mind!
- STI’s: If you’re sexually active, it’s a good idea to get an annual STI check at your appointment, even if you aren’t actively worried about having one. In fact, any time you have a new intimate partner, it’s recommended that you get tested, just to be safe!
- Birth control: Your annual appointment is a great time to discuss your birth control options. Whether you want to get on it for the first time, switch to a different option, discuss how it’s working for you, or going off of it completely, your doctor will have all the information and guidance you need!
- Fertility and family planning: Connected to birth control options - this is a great time to discuss family planning with your doctor if you’re ready to be a parent or considering your next move! If you’re already pregnant, you’ve probably spoken to your doctor, but it will be a good idea to talk about prenatal care and a birth plan!
- Pap smear: It’s recommended that anyone over the age of 21 get a Pap smear every three years; this oft-feared but actually not-so-bad procedure is when your doctor collects cells from your cervix to test for cancerous cells.
- Breast exam: Your gynecologist isn’t restricted to your vagina! At your annual, your doctor may perform a breast exam, testing for lumps or any warning signs of breast cancer. Women over the age of 40 will start getting mammograms to test for breast cancer, as well.
- And probably anything else: Don’t be embarrassed to ask if you have a question - your doctor is a professional and wants to help you! Even if an issue doesn’t fall in your gynecologist’s field of expertise, they will be able to point you in the direction of someone who can help you out.
Don’t put it off!
Staying proactive about your intimate health is crucial - your body (and your doctor) will thank you for keeping up with your annual appointment!
Now: get out your calendar and make the call!