After menopause, many women let visits to the gynecologist fall to the wayside. It is a common misconception that your reproductive organs don't need as much attention once your childbearing years have passed. However, there is just as much benefit in gynecological support as any other medical specialty. Here is a guide to why you should continue routine appointments with your OB-GYN.
Why do I Need to See an OBGYN After Menopause?
Gynecological health is still very important post-menopause. As your body continues to change, there are three common issues you may experience that can be treated and alleviated by an OBGYN. The first is irritation in the vagina and vulva. Many older women experience pain during sex due to changes in estrogen levels. Pelvic organ prolapse, the weakening of muscle tissues that support the bladder, rectum and uterus, affects 50 percent of post-menopausal women. Lastly, affecting half the population of post-menopausal women is urinary incontinence.
What Happens if I Don't?
Without regular exams and screenings from your gynecologist, you may put yourself at risk of developing viral infections, like human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the probability of cervical cancer. Monitoring your estrogen levels well past your childbearing years can tell a lot about your overall health. A drop in estrogen can indicate heart disease, osteoporosis, as well as other common issues associated with post-menopause. The ability to get ahead of issues through routine gynecological visits increases the chances of early intervention and a successful recovery.
How Frequently Should I See One?
The frequency of your visit varies depending on any existing conditions you have and current health concerns. For most women, once a year to once every three years is appropriate. It is recommended that you get a pap smear every three years to five years in combination with an HPV exam until the age of 65. If you experience any abnormal results, your gynecologist may suggest you continue routine exams. A hysterectomy, including the cervix, may eliminate the need to get a pap smear. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends annual pelvic exams, while other sources suggest they may only be necessary if you are experiencing symptoms that indicate there may be a problem with your vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.
With over 30 years experience, Dr. Joseph Hazan of Advanced OB-GYN Services has been dedicated to giving personalized, compassionate care. The team offers appointments in the early morning and evening hours to accommodate busy schedules, same-day appointments for emergencies, and 24-hour support for existing patients. For patients, cutting-edge procedures and superior gynecological care are always within reach. To see a full list of services, visit the website. To make an appointment at the St. Peters, MO, office, call (636) 928-1800 and (314) 291-2140 for the Bridgeton, MO, office.
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