Even if you are not experiencing any gynecological problems, scheduling wellness exam should still be done each year. What you learn helps you maintain your sexual and reproductive health and could save your life.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends annual exams for all women beginning between the ages of 13 and 15 (or sooner if sexually active).
Your annual exam could save your life
Certain diseases like breast cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer may not present obvious symptoms. When they do, the diseases are often in advanced stages. Many problems may be detected during an annual exam that could lead to an early diagnosis and increase the chance for more successful treatment.
The Pap smear, which is one component of an exam, tests for cervical cancer and other changes in your cells that could suggest the future development of cancer. Cervical cancer symptoms that can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during sex or an unusual discharge from the vagina, often don’t begin unto the cancer becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissues. Pap smear test results can detect its presence earlier.
Other benefits of your annual exam
Your annual exam is an opportunity to learn about health and wellness topics specific to your age, medical history and other criteria. You can discuss any concerns you have about changes in your menstrual cycle, unexplained pelvic or breast pain or questions related to birth control and pregnancy planning. Your OB/GYN is an important member of your health team, who specializes in medical knowledge related specifically to a woman’s sexual and reproductive health. An annual exam gives you the opportunity to foster a relationship with your doctor.
You will receive a reminder notice in the mail when it is time to schedule your annual exam. Exam times fill quickly, so schedule your appointment as timely as possible.