For some women, a visit to the gynecologist’s office can be a source of anxiety. However, regular visits with your board-certified gynecologist are an integral part of maintaining a healthy reproductive system as well as good overall health. Our board-certified gynecologists are here to help explain the importance of keeping up with your appointments.
#1: Keeping Up with Annual Well Woman Exams
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommends that women undergo annual well-woman exams with their board-certified gynecologist starting at age 18. Even if you aren’t currently due for a Pap smear, your annual well-woman visit provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the state of your reproductive health as well as any changes you may have noticed since your last appointment.
#2: Undergoing Pap Smears and HPV Testing
Much like an annual well-woman exam, it’s important for women to keep up with their other (sometimes less frequent) gynecological appointments like Pap smears and HPV testing. Many gynecologists believe that Pap testing is required every three years (once a woman turns 21 and through age 65). However, we recommend annual Pap testing to help detect and treat any abnormalities as soon as possible. Additionally, women who do not receive Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination between the ages of 9 and 26 should undergo HPV testing at least once every 5 years.
#3: Diagnosing Vaginal Infections
Common vaginal infections like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis affect millions of women in the US every year. Although they may be more common for pre-menopausal women, both can affect women at any age. There are steps you can take to help minimize your risk of developing a vaginal infection including wearing breathable cotton underwear, changing out of wet clothes as soon as possible, maintaining a healthy diet (high in probiotics, low in sugar), and using a mild, fragrance-free soap when you bathe.
Staying proactive and maintaining strong vaginal health is a lifelong process. Thankfully, our board-certified gynecologists are here to accompany you and help provide any assistance that is needed along the way. If you would like to learn more or request an appointment, please contact board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. For more reproductive health tips for women, you can follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.