A gynecologist is a physician that specializes in women’s reproductive health. For many women, regularly seeing a gynecologist for checkups is a part of their overall health and wellness routine. However, some women may have questions about what exactly a gynecologist does, and when exactly they should see one. In today’s article, we’ll dive deeper into what a gynecologist does, and when you should see one.
When to See a Gynecologist for Regular Visits
How often a woman should see a gynecologist will vary for everyone, depending on their age and their lifestyle. However, the following are some general rules of thumb:
It’s recommended that women start seeing a gynecologist when they become sexually active, or when they turn 21—whichever occurs first (even if you are not sexually active by 21, most physicians recommend an initial gynecological exam).
Regular Return Visits
It’s important to see your gynecologist for a checkup and exam routinely. For most women, once a year is sufficient, and some even opt to visit every 2 or 3 years if there are not experiencing any problems. Additionally, since most gynecologists are also trained in the specialization of obstetrics, it’s also important to regularly visit your ob-gyn during any pregnancies for prenatal and postnatal care.
Women should continue to see a gynecologist as they enter menopause and post-menopause to monitor their reproductive health. Many gynecologists recommend that after 70, it is safe for a woman to stop routine visits if she has a history of normal pap smears and has no new sexual partners.
Other Reasons to See A Gynecologist
Aside from regular exams, pap smears, and obstetrical care, it is also important to see your gynecologist if you experience changes or problems with your menstrual period (such as heavy or irregular bleeding), irregular pap smears, or any pain or irritation in the vaginal area.
Irregular Bleeding or Changes in Your Period
If you stop getting your period or experience irregular bleeding, you should see your gynecologist immediately. A sudden absence of your period could indicate pregnancy, and heavy or irregular bleeding could indicate a problem—such as an injury to the cervix, uterine polyps/fibroids, or even cervical or uterine cancer. It’s important to see your doctor to rule out any of these conditions or receive necessary medical attention.
If you are approaching the onset of menopause, it is normal to experience changes in your regular menstrual cycle. Most women begin menopause in their early 50’s and some experience a slow tapering off of their period as their menstrual cycle begins to change. It’s important to visit your gynecologist during this time to rule out pregnancy and also receive menopausal care.
Vaginal Pain and Discomfort
If you are experiencing any pain or itching in your vaginal area, you should see your gynecologist immediately for treatment, as it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, bacterial infection, yeast infection, or sexually transmitted disease.
North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach
Seeing your gynecologist regularly is a great way to maintain your health and wellness throughout every phase of life. At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, we are committed to providing exceptional healthcare through a full range of obstetric and gynecological services in Jacksonville. We are devoted to providing a professional, friendly, and comfortable environment, and pride ourselves on making every patient a member of the North Florida Ob-Gyn family. If you are interested in receiving care, or are experiencing any symptoms that concern you, please contact us today for more information or to set up an appointment.