You’re a busy woman. Whether you have kids or have a demanding job, you may feel tempted to put off routine health visits. You assume that if you don’t have any problems that you know about, you can probably wait to make a visit.
But taking care of yourself is crucial, even if you don’t have any health problems. A well-woman exam is an important investment in your health, especially because it’s your best chance to discover health problems before they become serious. Dr. Daniel Esteves explains more about why you should get regular well-woman exams.
Pap smears screen for cancer
During a well-woman exam, one of the most important things that we do is to screen for cancer. We address all of your reproductive organs, which is essential because cancers are most treatable when caught in their earliest stages.
One test that’s part of a well-woman exam is the Pap smear, which checks for changes to your cervix that can indicate early signs of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is highly treatable when it’s caught in its earliest stages, which is one reason that the well-woman exam is so vital.
Mammograms screen for breast cancer
Between age 40-50, most women begin getting mammograms to screen for breast cancer. (Some women are at higher risk, and we may recommend getting them earlier.) Mammograms detect breast cancer at any earlier stage, when it’s much more treatable.
Of course, you should still do monthly self-exams of your breasts as well. But a mammogram is much more sensitive and can detect signs of cancer that are too small to be felt.
Protect your fertility
Even if you aren’t planning to have children any time soon, you want to make sure that your reproductive system is as healthy as possible. The well-woman exam is also a good time to bring up any menstrual cycle irregularities, from delayed periods to painful or heavy periods.
Irregular menstrual cycles can present challenges when you want to conceive a child, as well as making your life more unpleasant than necessary now. It’s a good idea to get them treated as soon as possible.
Review birth control options
You may have used the same birth control method for many years but may find that it has become inconvenient or impractical. We review your birth control choices at the well-woman exam, so this is a great time to mention any concerns that you have about your current method.
Maybe you’re tired of taking a pill every day and would rather have something that’s effective for a longer period, such as birth control injections or an IUD. We can revisit the issue and review your options to find something that might work better for you.
Plan for pregnancy
If you’re thinking that you might want to try to get pregnant soon, the well-woman exam is a great time to bring that up. You may need to stop taking birth control. As your OB/GYN, Dr. Esteves is an important resource for you prior to pregnancy, as well as during your pregnancy.
Keeping up with well-woman exams is important for many reasons, one of which is establishing and maintaining a relationship with your OB/GYN. Call Dr. Daniel Esteves today, or request an appointment online.