Your Body, Your Health: Understanding the Annual Gynecologic Exam
An annual gynecologic checkup is an essential part of maintaining overall health and wellness. Often called “annuals,” these checkups provide an opportunity for people to receive preventive care and early detection of potential health issues. Unfortunately, many people tend to neglect their gynecologic checkups, often due to a lack of understanding of their importance. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of regular gynecologic checkups.
First and foremost, these checkups allow for the detection of any potential health issues that may be present. Additionally, gynecologic checkups provide an opportunity for women to receive important preventive care.
An annual exam may or not include a breast exam or pelvic exam, depending on the patient’s age and health concerns and risks. Pap smears are now recommended less often than once a year for many people and your provider can let you know if you qualify for less frequent paps.
Regular pap smears can prevent cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells early on. Paps are usually only done between the ages of 21 and 65, and will include HPV testing for women over age 30.
Gynecologic checkups also allow for the detection and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms, but can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. During a gynecologic checkup, healthcare providers can test for and treat these infections. Testing for STIs are important for women of all ages.
Another important aspect of gynecologic checkups is the opportunity to discuss and address any concerns related to sexual health or reproductive issues. This may include discussing birth control options, menstrual irregularities, or concerns related to menopause. These discussions allow women to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
In summary, women's annual gynecologic checkups are essential for maintaining overall health and wellness. These checkups allow for the detection and treatment of potential health issues, provide important preventive care, and offer an opportunity to address concerns related to sexual and reproductive health. It is important for women to prioritize their gynecologic health and schedule regular checkups with their healthcare provider.