A gynaecologist will help you take control of your reproductive and sexual health and can help you make smarter choices for your lifestyle. Read on to find out how.
Think Did you think you only need to visit a gynaecologist when you are pregnant? Think again.
Think again as gynaecological problems are varied and not just restricted to pregnancy and postpartum health. From menstrual cramps and cysts to sexual well-being, there’s a wide variety of issues that a gynaecologist can help you with. So, just as you would with an annual health check-up, you need to add a gyno exam to your calendar every year. This will help you track and treat gynaecological irregularities and prevent diseases even starting at a young age.
Here are some broad concerns that you can discuss with a gynaecologist.
A detailed discussion, along with the required tests and right diagnosis and treatment, can evaluate your health status thoroughly. Here is what you can expect from the appointment and why it is essential to add it to your calendar at least once in a year.
Period irregularitiesYou, Will, Discuss Your Periods
It’s is easy to experience gradual changes in your menstrual cycle like irregular or painful periods and painful periods and not know if they’re breaching the limits of have breached normalthe limits of normal. Sometimes, a temporary hormonal imbalance may be the cause. Other times, it might be an indication of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition which often goes undiagnosed. Another irregularity is abnormal heavy bleeding on your period– whether it’s heavy periods or spotting in between your cycles. Your gynaecologist canwill help you determine its causes and can treat it and might suggest testing for anaemia.When you visit a gynaecologist, be prepared to answer a string of questions about your periods. Are your periods regular? Do you get more severe cramps? Do you ever mess up your bed sheets or clothes? Those answers will help your doctor determine if you are bleeding too much, and if you need to be evaluated for anaemia and causes of heavy bleeding. Even light periods can be a cause for concern in some cases.
Cervical cancer screeningYou, Will, Get Screened for Cervical Cancer
According to current guidelines, you should go for a cervical cancer screening every 3 years, sStarting at age 21, you should go for cervical cancer screening every three years. ItThis Cervical cancer screening typically includesinvolves a Pap smear and sometimes a test for and Human Papillomavirus PV(or HPV, a sexually transmitted infection) co-testing along with visual inspection of the cervix. According to the current guidelines, you can go three to five years between Pap tests, depending on your medical history and age. If this is the first time you hear about Aa Papanicolaou or “Pap” smear , understand that it screens for cervical cancer by collecting microscopic cells from your cervix to see if they are showing changes consistent with cervical cancer. The high-risk strains of HPV virus are the most common cause for cervical cancer and sometimes testing for these is warranted. However, during an exam, your gynaecologist will also feel your breasts and pelvic organs, including your cervix, uterus, and ovaries. This will help them check for abnormalities , like masses or fibroids. In fact,Many several doctors have reported spotting countless thyroid masses during routine exams that the patient had not yet recognised.
You, Will, be Testinged for STIs
Sexually Much like your vital statistics like high blood pressure, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don’t always turn up with may not cause any tell-tale signs and are sometimes asymptomatic. Nor is every vaginal irritation or infection a sign of an STI. Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish between an STI and a yeast or bacterial infection. In such tricky situations, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your gynaecologist.
While there may be a bacteria or virus present in your body, the doctor would not refer to it as a sexually transmitted disease yet, because, by definition, diseases exhibit certain signs and symptoms. Keep in mind thatSure, condoms can help prevent cut down the spread of STIs, but theyit won't completely eliminate your risk. And unlike what you may have heard, STIs don’tn’t only spread via penetrative sex. You can also contract an STI through sexual activity like oral sex or even genital contact. In particular, STIs like genital herpes, HPV, chlamydia , gonorrhoea, and syphilis are super common. Hence,, and you must get yourself tested. If if you're sexually active, you must schedule routine screenings for STIs.st get routinely screened for GC/CT and HIV.
Timely vaccinationsYou, Will, Get the HPV Vaccination on Time
Did you know there’s actually a vaccine that can decrease your risk of cancer? The HPV vaccine is designed to prevent the high-risk strains of HPV is a highly common and potentially deadly STI , sexually transmitted infection that often exhibits no symptoms. Limiting your exposure to HPV is essential, and one the best way to prevent it is to get the HPV vaccine.from turning into cervical cancer. The majority of cervical cancer is caused by these certain strains of HPV. It won’t protect you from contracting HPV which can manifest with no symptoms or genital warts, but it will protect you from developing cervical cancer. The best time to get this vaccine is before sexual activity for it by most effective, but it is recommended that all women and now men to get it before the age of 26.
It is a series of two or three shots that can be starting at age 11 up to age 45. Seeing your gynaecologist at least once a year is crucial to as they can detect early signs of HPV, like genital warts or abnormal Pap. While not every genital Sure, a lump or bump is always not a genital wart, but treating it them on time can help prevent spreading it the spread to other parts of your body or your partner.
You, Will, be On Top of Family pPlanning and bBirth cControl
Relying only on your friends for birth control advice is unsafe and reckless.The decision of when and whom to have children with should be your decision. Your body’s reaction to birth control is unique and can change with timeneeds for contraception and fertility services will change with time. So, a gynaecologist is best suited to customise your contraception methodfamily planning needs. They can recommend birth control options that are right for you, and if you have problems with one method, can troubleshoot and recommend others that are better suited. This will be done after checking your vitals and family history of blood clots or cancer.
Remember the barrier method with condoms is the only method that protects against STIs, but there are other great options from pills to IUDs that your doctor can help determine if its right for you. And, if you’re ready to have a baby, your doctor can help you prepare for pregnancy by assessing your current health state. Whether you are planning a bay or do not want to, a gynaecologist will talk to you about contraception. How your body is reacting to birth control can change, and that is a meaningful conversation to have with your gynaecologist. Your gynaecologist may also need to check your blood pressure and weight periodically if you are using a hormonal birth control method. They will dig into any family history of blood clots or certain forms of cancer to ensure that the birth control is safe for you and you to continue to use it. Even if you just resort to a barrier method for contraception, your doctor can help determine if it's working effectively on its own or if you should add another contraceptive method to better protect against pregnancy. Also, if you are planning a baby, your doctor will identify your current state of health and help you prepare for pregnancy.
But how often should you see your gynaecologist? Ideally, you should visit a gynaecologist right after you get your period or as soon you become sexually active. Next, yYou should see them once every year for annual screenings, or and more often if you have any problems or concerns, or if you change sexual partners. Remember, your gynaecologist is the last person to judge your reason for seeing them. So, leave all your inhibitions and embarrassment in the backseat!. They only want you to be as safe and healthy as you can be.
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Reviewed by Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD/MBA, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynaecology.