Each year, there’s always a list of things you should do. Spring clean your house. Go to the dentist. Clean out your closet. Take a vacation. And, obviously, go to the gynecologist for your yearly checkup.
There are multiple reasons why visiting the gynecologist is an important part of the year for any woman, these include benchmarking your overall health, performing routine health tests and a pap smear and talking with your doctor about other women’s health topics.
Your yearly exam can help you and your doctor check for any irregularities in your overall health. At each exam, your doctor or nurse will ask you about your family history and any concerns you may have. While it’s important to get a yearly physical from your general doctor, your GYN can also help spot abnormalities in your overall health. A blood test may also be taken at your yearly exam to test for STDs, cholesterol or blood sugar.
General tests may be performed at your yearly checkup, too. A pelvic exam or blood test may be completed to check for STDs. During a pelvic exam, doctors “check the size and shape of your uterus and ovaries, noting any tender areas or unusual growths.” Though this exam can be uncomfortable for some women, it is relatively simple and important in detecting any abnormalities. A breast exam may also be completed to check your breasts for lumps, tenderness or growths.
In addition to physical tests, a nurse will also weigh you and take your blood pressure to record your physical health. A urine test may could be done to check your sugar levels or see if you are pregnant.
Pap smears are important for women to get every three years after they are over the age of 21. Pap smears help detect cervical cancer, a disease that tends to occur in midlife. More importantly, Pap smears can detect precancerous cells, which can then be monitored or treated in order to prevent cervical cancer from occurring. Women who have had an abnormal Pap smear may require more frequent testing.
Although you may not need a Pap smear every year, we do recommend a yearly appointment for a breast and pelvic exam to discuss any women’s health issues.
Most importantly, your yearly checkup is a time where you and your doctor can discuss topics associated with your womanly health, privately. Topics that are often discussed include birth control, your sex life, managing the symptoms of menopause, osteoporosis, periods, nutrition, vaccines and pregnancy. No topic is off limits, and women of any age are encouraged to be open about positive and negative issues affecting their body.
Don’t forget to make your yearly checkup at by calling one of our three Mt. Auburn locations today! All of our doctors are ready to see you.