A women’s body goes through different stages throughout her life, and each stage requires a different set of health care practices and doctors. From early adolescence when a young woman’s body if first adjusting to her menstrual cycles, to eating right through pregnancy, to taking extra precautions against osteoporosis and heart disease, staying informed of best health practices is crucial at every age. While there are some health concerns that women will outgrow over time, there is one doctor that should remain in each woman’s life, no matter her age; her gynecologist.
An OBGYN is not only a doctor that deals with the babies and pap-smears. Women’s health is complex and requires attention from a gynecologist after menopause. Continuing with annual gynecological exams is an indispensable part of every woman’s health care at every age.
Here are a few things a woman post-menopausal should discuss with her doctor annually:
While the risks of developing cervical cancer decrease after the age of 55, a woman’s risk for other cancers— such as ovarian, uterine, and breast— actually increase with age. Talking with your gynecologist about your personal and family’s medical history will help you and your doctor to determine what precautionary steps are best for you to take. These may include mammograms, breast exams and continuing with an annual pap smear for women who are sexually active post menopause.
A pelvic exam should be part of a woman’s annual exam at every age. During a pelvic exam your doctor will check for any signs of illness related to a female’s makeup including her vulva, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and rectum.
STD education and screening:
Many women are sexually active in their senior years, and may begin new sexual relationships after getting divorced or being widowed. Staying educated about best sexual health practices, precautions and getting screened for STDs should remain part of every woman’s annual gynecological exam.
So don’t skip this year’s OBGYN appointment … it remains an essential part of your healthcare at any age.