The Many Reasons Why You Need an OB-GYN
It’s quite possible you don’t know all the reasons you need an OB-GYN in your life. Establishing a good relationship with your OB-GYN is important, because they can help you better understand the various health issues and body changes you will encounter. They help guide you through different expectations, goals and issues you may face from early adolescence, into adulthood and finally transitioning into menopause and beyond.
Your OB-GYN doesn’t exist just to screen you for cervical cancer. They also can provide an STD screening, birth control assistance and obstetrics care for those who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
An OB-GYN also can help you identify any problems you may not be aware of. For example, your daughter may be too young to understand what is happening with her body as she becomes a woman, and that’s enough to warrant an initial visit, especially if she’s experiencing any kind of disruption in her menstrual cycle, such as irregularity, heavy or painful flow.
A Simple Conversation
A misconception is that any visit to your OB-GYN will be painful or embarrassing. By having a sincere and comfortable conversation with your OB-GYN, you can identify any problems and be guided through which ones need to be addressed.
An initial visit won’t include getting undressed or a pelvic exam; it will be little more than a simple conversation. If you’re visiting with your daughter who is not sexually active, for example, we will talk about common problems, expectations, differences and changes in her body.
It’s important to address issues related to puberty, including what is normal versus what is not. Your OB-GYN will help set the foundation of what will come in future years. As you grow older and begin to encounter problems, then we start addressing the need for a pelvic exam, cervical cancer screening, immunizations and setting up how to proceed.
Some problems you may face can deal with your menstrual cycle, hormonal imbalance, the need for birth control, or even simply understanding how your body should be reacting to these changes. An OB-GYN will identify what issues you have and offer suggestions to help alleviate them. And if you’re older and believe a decreasing sexual drive or problems with sexual activity are an inevitable part of the aging process, your OB-GYN will explain to you all the reasons why that’s not actually the case.
Your Emotions Matter
It’s important for your OB-GYN to know your emotional status in order to determine any other problems that need to be addressed, whether they are personal, sexual or hormonal. No woman should ever visit her doctor and fear her questions may be considered taboo or off limits in some way.
Women need to know that we are very complicated beings and our hormones vary. Overall, your OB-GYN will make you feel comfortable and listened to. Every need you face, now and throughout the many years of your life, can be addressed with your physician in a positive and helpful way.
Once a Year
How often should you see your OB-GYN? Once a year is recommended. While you may not necessarily need a Pap smear annually, you can face a wide range of issues in your gynecologic life across 12 months’ time.
If you have had a hysterectomy, you might feel you don’t have to see your gynecologist anymore, but that’s not the case either. An OB-GYN will be able to do a complete wellness exam for you. They will evaluate any need for potential treatment, especially if you're starting to experience pain with sexual intercourse. Your OB-GYN also will address any potential malignancy or concerns with your ovaries, pelvic area or breasts.
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