Regular Check-ups are Vital to Women’s Health

Women's Health Update

Visiting your doctor regularly is essential to staying healthy. Despite changes in pap smear guidelines, it is still important for overall health that women should have a check-up with both their family doctor and their gynecologist at least once a year.

As women age, these visits might not always cover the same screenings or conversations. It's important to know what your risk factors are due to age, genetics, lifestyle and environment so if you have increased odds of developing a condition, your physician will be able to diagnose and treat it as early as possible.

According to the Department of Health and Human ServicesOff Site Icon (HHS), the U.S. Preventive Task Force sets guidelines for important screening tests for women. For a woman's gynecologic health, those screenings include:

  • Breast cancer screening (mammogram)
  • Cervical cancer screening (pap test)
  • Chlamydia test
  • Gonorrhea test
  • HIV test
  • Syphilis test

Many common cancers in women – especially breast and cervical cancers – can be found and treated through early detection, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon. Treating cancer that only affects a smaller part of the body can be easier than treating damage from cancer that has spread.

The Task Force also recommends additional screenings for women, some of which might be part of your yearly gynecologic exam, but others of which will be managed by your family doctor instead. Those screenings include:

  • Blood pressure test
  • Bone density test (for women ages 50 and older)
  • Cholesterol test
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening

It's important to feel comfortable talking with your doctor about your personal and family medical history, including cancer, eating habits, sexual partners, physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use, drug use, diabetes, heart disease, mental health, and more, according to the HHS.

To get the most out of your doctor's visit, the HHS also recommends you prepare a list of questions for the doctor or nurse that could include your concerns about:

  • Birth control
  • Diet and exercise
  • Family history of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension
  • Fertility health
  • Mental health, such as anxiety or depression
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

If you are pregnant, you will need additional regular check-ups to manage your health and the health of your growing baby, according to the HHS. These visits could include blood pressure checks, glucose screenings, measurements of the baby and screening for genetic abnormalities in the baby.

For more information about preconception health talk with your physician or visit Women’s Health Specialists & Midwives of Dayton to find a physician.