Your annual well-woman exam, as well as other feminine health, tends to be something that isn’t really talked about. Because of this lack of conversation, there are plenty of questions surrounding why we need an annual visit.
These questions are especially common for people who are “perfectly healthy”, have never missed a period, have gone through menopause, and more.
Why should I see an OB/GYN every year?
This is more of a common question from women who are healthy of all ages than you think, and we completely get it. Sitting in a doctor’s office when you feel perfectly well, in order to have an exam that confirms you are perfectly well, can feel like a waste of time.
However, your annual OB/GYN exam – also called a well-woman visit – is about so much more than giving you a clean bill of health.
5 Reasons Why Your Annual Well-Woman Exam from Your OB/GYN is So Important
Your well-woman exam has more layers than is normally thought of. It involves relationship building with your OB/GYN and staff, which can be important if you are staying with them for a while. It also includes education and knowledge about your body and reproductive health throughout all your life stages, and answering any questions that you may have, no matter how “embarrassing” you might think they are. Your doctors have heard it all, and they are here to help you with any and every question you could have about your reproductive health.
The following are 5 reasons why observing your annual well-woman checkup is so important:
- Your annual checkup, or well-woman visit, is a chance for you to bond with your doctors, which is especially important with your OB/GYN. Feeling comfortable with your OB/GYN is so important due to the fact that they are dealing with areas that are so intimate. Many of the most common conditions that affect female health, including HPV, breast cancer and cervical cancer, can exist in your body without any symptoms or signs. Your annual visit keeps your doctor informed about your body, and allows them to better understand anything that might be off for you. Without routine breast and pelvic exams, conversations about your lifestyle habits and sex life and your pap smear every three years, you run the risk of not catching a small issue before it becomes a big deal. Plus, the more you have developed a positive relationship with your OB/GYN through the years, the more comfortable you will feel if and when you require further treatment, are ready to have a baby, or go through other significant life changes.
- Your doctors are specialists. The internet has a lot of answers, but with the overwhelming amount of information, both agreeing and disagreeing, it can be hard to sort through what it all means. At your annual visits, you’ll be able to ask any questions that you might have, no matter how intimate they might be, and you can share any information you might have that feels unusual in a safe, caring, compassionate and confidential environment. Your doctors will make sure you get the honest and informative answers that will empower you to make the best decisions for yourself and your health.
- Keeping up with the newest science and tech is really important. The rapid evolution of technology has changed the medical playing field, from diagnostic tests and treatments to new innovations in contraception and permanent birth control options like IUDs. Visiting your OB/GYN every year means you’ll be on the forefront of these innovations as well, with more options to choose from when it comes to your body and your reproductive options and choices.
- Staying up to date with your health screenings and vaccinations. At your annual checkups, you’ll have the option to be screened for a variety of health conditions depending on your age, family medical history and lifestyle habits. This includes screening for sexually transmitted diseases, which is highly recommended for anyone who has sex outside of a monogamous relationship. Even if you were tested last year and always use condoms, it’s still a good idea to be screened “just in case.” This also includes colon cancer screening after age 50. You will also have the opportunity to catch up on any vaccinations that you missed as a child, or that may not have been available when you were young.
- Building bonds means that when you are ready to have a family, you will be sure that you and your baby are in good hands. Forming a good relationship with your OB/GYN means that you will feel comfortable when you are pregnant, and that when you are pregnant, you will be treated with the utmost care and respect. A strong relationship means that if you are ever referred to a specialist, either during preventative, prenatal, or after care, that the specialist is someone you can trust as well. While you can always be on the lookout for a great doctor after you see the “+” sign on the pregnancy test stick, it’s best to have an established relationship with a doctor who you love and trust.
Looking for an OB/GYN with whom you can feel 100% comfortable and trust to provide high-quality healthcare at every stage of your life? Schedule a consultation with Women’s Health Associates. We look forward to talking to you soon.