Maybe you haven’t had a well-woman exam in awhile. Life gets busy, and taking care of such matters can easily slip lower on your priority list. It’s no big deal if you wait, right?
Actually, attending an annual well-woman exam should earn a high priority on your to-do list. There are many important benefits to your health from getting one. Dr. Edward J. Ramirez of The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF explains more about 7 of the most important benefits you can gain from getting an annual well-woman exam.
Your fertility can be affected by several diseases that we check for in a well-woman exam. This includes sexually transmitted infections that, when left untreated, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can disrupt your fertility and even cause miscarriages. In addition, if you have irregular periods, you could have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Heavy menstrual bleeding can indicate endometriosis. Both of these conditions can interfere significantly with your ability to conceive a child.
Part of the well-woman exam includes a Pap smear, which checks for early signs of cervical cancer. You will also be screened for possible changes to your breasts, which could indicate early signs of breast cancer. Both types of cancer are significantly more treatable when they are caught early. Don’t wait.
If you don’t want to get pregnant, Dr. Ramirez can still help you. Whether you want to change birth control methods to one that works better for you or you want to start using birth control, a well-woman exam is the perfect time to discuss it and get a prescription.
Once you’re sexually active, you should be screened at least annually for sexually transmitted diseases or infections. Many of these diseases are silent and present no symptoms, so testing is the only way to know for sure whether you have them. Roughly 80 percent of women are exposed to the human papilloma virus (HPV) by age 50. Many strains of HPV are directly linked to cervical cancer. It offers great peace of mind to know that you don’t have one of them. But if you do, we can provide the treatment for them.
Your gynecologist isn’t only concerned with your “lady parts.” Your gynecologist is a member of your health care team, working with your family doctor to keep you well. Dr. Ramirez can also assess your lifestyle for risks of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. By detecting possible risks early, you can work together on prevention
Vaccination is an important part of wellness. You can get vaccines from the gynecologist, including a vaccine against HPV. Contrary to what some believe, you don’t have to be a teenager for the HPV vaccine to be effective. It may be effective in adults from ages 27 to 45, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You ideally want to have a good relationship with your doctor so that you feel comfortable calling him if you have a yeast infection or think that you might want to change your birth control method. You can also tell him about any plans you may have to build your family at some point and learn about pre-conception wellness. All of these things will feel much more comfortable if you already have a good working relationship with your physician.
If you are due for a well-woman exam, don’t wait any longer to schedule it. Call Dr. Edward J. Ramirez at The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF or request an appointment online.