Do you still need to keep your yearly gynecologist appointment after you are past child-bearing years? Because many women have been told that they do not need a Pap smear every year, they think that they can skip this exam as they get older. A gynecological exam, however, remains an important part of a women’s medical care at every stage of life.
Although the risk of cervical cancer decreases with age, the risk of other cancers actually increases, including uterine, ovarian and breast cancer. Most women older than 65 will no longer need a Pap smear test, but there are exceptions to this guideline that your provider will identify by reviewing your medical record. Women ages 21 to 65 are recommended to have a Pap smear screening at different time intervals, based on risk factors and age. Finally, many women do not visit a separate primary care physician each year; a gynecologist may identify a medical problem that otherwise would go undetected, and will even order routine screening labs and imaging studies like mammograms and bone density tests.
Bladder and other common issues
One of the most common problems older women suffer from is bladder leakage or having to frequently go to the bathroom. A gynecologist can assess any pelvic, urinary or rectal issues, such as pain or discomfort, vaginal dryness, urinary leakage or bladder or bowel changes.
For example, numerous treatments are available for bladder leakage or frequent urination. Depending on your medical history, options could include medication, bladder retraining, physical therapy, or even same-day surgery.
Older women shouldn’t have to suffer from these problems. Make an appointment with a gynecologist and be honest about your health. Make a list of your medical information and any symptoms you may be experiencing.
From attentive mother and baby care to comprehensive breast health and gynecologic services, we partner with women to help you attain your very best health, throughout your life. Find a Baptist Health provider near you.