Pregnancy and babies are not the only reasons to see an OB/GYN. Saying goodbye to your doctor after you are done having children is like not going to the dentist after all your adult teeth are in. Our bodies and hormones are ever changing and evolving. It is incredibly important to maintain a foundation of health by staying up to date and consistent with doctors’ visits, including the lady doctor, no matter your age.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first visit of this nature occur between the ages of 13 and 15. Annual breast exams should start at 19, routine pelvic exams and PAP tests at 21. Women 30 years and older should continue to get a PAP test but can reduce it to every 2 years. If you have abnormal PAP test results, have a family history of cancer or other concerns, you should see your doctor more regularly.
Annual exams should include documenting vital signs such as blood pressure, height, weight and body mass index. You should also keep track of nutrition, physical and sexual activity and tobacco, alcohol or drug use. Depending on age and risk associated with your personal health, these visits can include recommended vaccinations or changes in medications. For women in the premenopausal and menopausal stages of life, this is an opportunity to discuss symptoms and talk about possible treatment options with your doctor.
It’s important to keep up with your health, especially as you age. So if you’re done having kids, don’t say ‘sayonara’ to your OB/GYN quite yet!