Everyone knows that regular visits with a gynecologist are important when it comes to maintaining reproductive health. What many people might not realize is how important gynecological exams are even when the possibility of bearing children has passed.
If you have recently had a hysterectomy and find yourself questioning the importance of your yearly gynecological exam, here are three reasons you shouldn't overlook your annual examination in the future.
1. A gynecologist will conduct a breast examination during your annual exam.
While a pap smear might no longer be necessary after you have a hysterectomy, the threat of breast cancer remains. Statistics show that 1 in 8 women in the United States has breast cancer, and catching this disease early is essential when it comes to successful treatment.
Your gynecologist can conduct annual examinations to feel for lumps in your breast tissue. He or she can also ensure that you know how to conduct self-examinations properly. The potential to catch breast cancer early is an important reason to continue seeing your gynecologist, even after you have had a hysterectomy.
2. A gynecologist can test for sexually transmitted diseases.
Just because you have a hysterectomy doesn't mean that you will no longer be sexually active. The average female will have 8 sexual partners in her lifetime, so regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases is essential when it comes to maintaining your health.
By keeping your regularly scheduled examinations with your gynecologist, you have the ability to monitor changes in your sexual health that could be attributed to disease. Be sure that you make testing for sexually transmitted diseases a regular part of your gynecological visits after you have a hysterectomy.
3. A gynecologist can help improve bladder function.
It's easy to forget that gynecologists are trained to monitor not only sex organs, but the bladder as well. After a hysterectomy, it is still possible for you to experience bladder problems, and a gynecologist can help you treat any problems that might arise.
Gynecological examinations can reveal minor issues like a bladder infection, and they can also help identify more embarrassing problems like urinary incontinence. Working with your gynecologist ensures that you can preserve your bladder function and catch issues early.
While some women see a hysterectomy as an excuse to eliminate regular trips to the gynecologist, understanding the role a gynecologist can play in identifying breast cancer, treating sexually transmitted diseases, and maintaining bladder function will help you see the importance of annual gynecological examinations.