Experts generally recommend that women see a gynecologist on a regular basis for checkups. But sometimes, life gets away from you, and for one reason or another you don't end up seeing your gynecologist for a few years. The best time to get back on track and schedule another appointment is now. Here are some tips to guide you as you see a gynecologist for the first time in years.
Look over and bring your most recent health history.
Your overall health does play a role in your gynecological health. If you've been diagnosed and treated for any other ailments by your general physician or another specialist in the past few years, then bring a record of these visits with you to the gynecologist. This may prompt them to look more closely at certain aspects of your health or keep an eye out for specific ailments. Even if you think something is irrelevant, bring the information and let your doctor decide.
Be honest about your sexual history.
Gynecologists typically ask questions about your sexual activity, not to pry, but because knowing these details can shed light on the types of conditions you might be most at risk for. Since you have not been to the OB-GYN in a while, you need to answer these questions based not only on your current sexual practices but also on those over the past few years. For example, if you have one partner now but had multiple partners a couple of years back, that is something to share with your gynecologist. Some conditions, like various STDs, can be asymptomatic for years, and sharing your complete sexual history with your gynecologist is the best way to ensure such problems aren't missed.
Ask what testing standards have changed.
Health care organizations are frequently updating standards as to what tests women should have and how often they should have them. The standards you think you know may have changed since your last visit. So, ask your gynecologist what is now recommended in terms of pap smear frequency, breast exam frequency, and STD testing. This way, you will know what you can expect in terms of future visits and testing.
Seeing a gynecologist for the first time in years can be a little intimidating at first, but it is still a good idea. Follow the tips above, and don't hesitate to ask your OB-GYN if you have any additional questions.
Contact a local OB-GYN office to learn more.