October gives us plenty of fun, spooky things to get excited about like scary movies or Halloween parties and candy. But one thing women often find themselves spooked by, and not excited for, is their annual visit to an OB-GYN. Women may find themselves putting this appointment off because of feelings of uncertainty or apprehension. However, seeing your obstetrician/gynecologist is an important way to make sure you stay healthy.
The more you know about what an OB-GYN can do for you, and all of the benefits of visiting yearly, the more comfortable you will feel with making your annual OB-GYN visit a priority.
Who is an OB-GYN?
An OB-GYN is an obstetrician-gynecologist – a doctor who specializes in female reproductive health. OB-GYNs can address a wide range of health topics and issues including, pap smears, STI tests, pelvic exams, fertility treatments, childbirth delivery, and more.
When do you need to see an OB-GYN?
There is a misconception that you shouldn’t begin seeing an OB-GYN until you are 21. However, an OB-GYN can be helpful to any girl over 13. Along with doing a yearly exam, an OB-GYN can help with any questions regarding a menstrual cycle, std’s, sexuality, birth control, and pregnancy.
It is recommended that women ages 21-29 see an OB-GYN once a year. But you can meet with an OB-GYN any time you have any questions about your reproductive health.
What is a pap smear, and how often do I need one?
A pap smear is a test done by an OB-GYN to screen for cervical cancer. The guidelines for how often a woman should have a pap smear have changed over time, but currently, most doctors recommend a pap smear every 3 years for women between the ages of 21 and 29.
After that, it is recommended that women have a pap smear test every 3 to 5 years until the age of 65. If a woman has had no abnormal test results by the age of 65, most doctors will say that a woman will no longer need pap smear tests.
Why is seeing an OB-GYN annually important?
Making sure that you make it a priority to see your OB-GYN once a year will is important because the annual visit includes screenings to rule out certain diseases and it provides an opportunity for you keep your doctor updated about your health and any concerns you have. Of course, if at any time between your yearly appointments you have questions or are experiencing any concerning symptoms, you can make an appointment to see your OB-GYN whenever you would like.
Taking care of yourself and your health shouldn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Your OB-GYN is extremely knowledgeable and will be able to answer any questions you have, while also making sure you feel comfortable. So don’t keep putting this appointment off!