Your primary care physician can do a lot to help you maintain your overall health and wellness. However, it’s important for women to see a medical professional who specializes in caring for the female reproductive system. Making an appointment at a women’s healthcare center or OBGYN office can be critical, especially in these instances.
Once a Year for Checkups
Once you reach the age of 21, it’s important to have specific screenings for certain cancers and other reproductive conditions. All women should have a physical breast and pelvic exam. In addition, a Pap smear should be done every 3 years in healthy women, along with testing for HPV. In general, mammograms should begin around age 45. The frequency and timing of these tests all depend on a person’s overall health, age, family history, and risk factors.
When You Find Out You’re Pregnant (Or Think You Might Be)
If you’ve taken a home pregnancy test and the result is positive, it’s time to make an appointment with a professional. At the office, they will likely perform additional tests to confirm the pregnancy and determine how far along you are. This can be done with bloodwork and ultrasound imaging. If you had a negative test result but are still experiencing pregnancy symptoms, wait a few days to test again. If the test is still negative but your symptoms persist, you should still be seen by a medical professional.
For STD Testing
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting an STD. If you have had a sexual encounter with someone who has an STD, it’s important to let your doctor know right away and to schedule a test as soon as possible. Early detection can improve your chances of a better treatment outcome and can prevent serious complications. It’s also important that you get the information you need to avoid spreading the STD to others.
When You Notice Changes in Mood
Mood changes happen to everyone and they can occur at any time. However, if you’re feeling more sad, angry, or irritable than normal, it could be a sign that something deeper is going on. While many emotional changes are a result of stress or circumstances, others can be connected to hormonal imbalances and other physical changes that occur throughout the course of a woman’s life. If you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, anger, or a newfound loss of interest in life, it’s time to talk to a women’s health professional.
When You Experience Certain Physical Symptoms
Your body is constantly changing, so it can be tough to know what’s normal and what isn’t. In general, you should make an appointment to see a woman’s healthcare expert when you experience pregnancy symptoms or any of the following:
- Breast changes
- Unexplained or new bleeding or discharge
- Pain during sex
- Low libido
- Difficult or heavy periods
- Any changes to the skin in your pelvic area
- Trouble with incontinence
All of these symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
If you aren’t an established patient at an OBGYN office or women’s healthcare center, make a new patient appointment today. Then, you’ll be able to receive the care you need when the situation arises.