Do Older Women Need Gynecological Exams?

If you’ve already reached menopause, you may be wondering whether you’ll continue to need your annual gynecological exam.

Well, wonder no more… The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) state the importance of an annual gynecological assessment as an indispensable part of every woman’s health care.

This statement came directly on the heels of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines in 2012 advising that most women over age 65 no longer need an annual Pap test to screen for cervical cancer.

Many women unfortunately saw this as a reason to skip their yearly gynecological visit. But…while the risks of developing cervical cancer decrease after age 55, a woman’s risk for other cancers— such as ovarian, uterine, and breast— actually increase with age.

If screening for cancer is not reason enough to continue your relationship with your OBGYN, consider the following:


  • Your doctor will ask about your personal and family history with breast cancer, and advise you in scheduling mammograms. Your doctor may perform a breast exam to check for lumps or other irregularities and advise you in how/when to perform your own self-examinations.
  • Your doctor will discuss the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise.
  • Healthy women up until the age of 65, who are sexually active and have a cervix still need a Pap test every three years.
  • Many women in their senior years are sexually active. They may begin new sexual relationships after being widowed or getting divorced…and they may need to be screened for and educated about sexually transmitted diseases.


Women need gynecological care at every stage of life. After menopause you will still need to see your OBGYN annually.  Even if you do not need a Pap smear — you will still need a pelvic exam.

So keep your OBGYN appointment on your calendar…it remains an essential and ongoing component of good preventative healthcare.