For some people, seeing the doctor is something they do on a regular basis from the time they were children and it is a practice they continue as they become adults, with no gap in between. For others, there is a strange period where healthcare is no longer an important part of their lives. This is unfortunate, as it is impossible to take advantage of the enormous advances in modern medicine if you aren’t actually availing yourself of preventative care. If you are a woman who thinks that gynecology is only important if you have an active problem or are pregnant, here are some things you need to know about your healthcare choices.
Introduction to Gynecology
Advocacy groups involved in family planning usually adhere and disseminate the advice that women begin seeing a gynecologist whenever they intend to become sexually active. This is important for health purposes as well as filling in any educational gaps that the young woman may have. While women choose to become sexually active at various ages, this happens around the age of 16 for many. After this point, these physicians recommend coming back to the doctor on an annual basis for a checkup. Without sexually active behavior, the standard within the medical community is to recommend that women begin seeing the doctor at the age of 21 and every year thereafter.
There is mixed advice when it comes to gynecology and women over the age of 30. If you have been faithfully going annually since becoming sexually active and have had at least three pap smears that have shown no abnormalities, the recommendations are somewhat lessened for those of that age. For instance, many physicians recommend that women who meet these criteria can back off to visiting their OB-GYN once every two or three years in that case. However, this is an instance where you should listen to what your doctor has to say on the matter above and beyond standard and general recommendations.
Questions and Concerns
If there are any abnormalities, or you have questions or concerns about issues surrounding gynecology, you should schedule an appointment no matter when your last one was or when your next one is scheduled. Certainly, if you are pregnant, you should expect to become very familiar with your OB-GYN’s offices. Don’t make the mistake, however, of thinking only sexually active or pregnant women need to concern themselves with appointments. Tests and yearly exams are important for other reasons, such as checking for various forms of cancer.