Most women are aware of the fact that they need to start paying annual visits to a gynaecologist once they start becoming sexually active and throughout their fertile years. Furthermore, women's reproductive health is not merely about trying to get pregnant — it also encompasses everything from the condition of their reproductive organs, irregular menstrual cycles, sexually transmitted diseases and so on. A gynaecologist also performs checks to protect women against ovarian, cervical and breast cancer. However, once women reach menopause, a good number of them tend to believe that they do not need to see a gynaecologist anymore. This article explains a few reasons why visits to your gynaecologist are mandatory even after menopause.
Routine breast examinations
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancers that affect women. Thus, even while you may not be getting your period anymore, it is still critical to ensure that you are having your breasts examined on a scheduled basis for tumours. It is also important to note that the risk of developing breast cancer becomes higher as you age. Therefore, even after you are past your reproductive years, you should be wary of the fact that the chance of developing breast cancer will be higher for you as compared to younger women. Your gynaecologist will carry out a breast exam coupled with a mammogram at least bi-annually to ensure that breast cancer is identified at the earliest stage so that you can receive treatment successfully.
Sexual health examinations
Once you have reached menopause, you no longer have to be as concerned about pregnancy. Nonetheless, as long as you are having intercourse, it is important to have your sexual health examined at least annually by your gynaecologist. During your sexual health examinations, your gynaecologist will screen you for an array of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. Moreover, your gynaecologist will reiterate safe practices to maintain your sexual health.
An annual pap smear
Another procedure that some older women may assume they will not nee anymore once their menstrual cycle ceases is their pap smear. However, pap smears are not only essential for women who are getting their period. In fact, a pap smear is crucial for checking for any cervical or vaginal abnormalities that could be indicative of cancer or other health problems. It should be noted that in some instances you might get an abnormal result in your reproductive checks. While this is not always a cause for concern, your gynaecologist will go ahead and perform a pap smear to investigate the abnormal test further. Hence, this procedure can be recommended even after you have had your annual pap smear performed.
Gynaecology can seem like a pretty embarrassing subject. However, when I had a problem and my doctor referred me to my local gynaecology unit, I soon learnt that being embarrassed is silly when you are dealing with medical professionals. The doctors and nurses at my local OBGYN centre were really great and they explained what they were doing with each step of the treatment. I have now made a full recovery and I'm doing really well. I hope that by writing about my experiences, I can help other people who have an appointment with their local OBGYN clinic or hospital.