Now that you’ve passed your child-bearing years, you may wonder if you still need to see your OB/GYN for your annual well-woman exam. Though the frequency of your visits may change, you do need to continue your well-woman exams during menopause.
At Ovation Wellness in Madison, Mississippi, our team of health professionals specializes in women’s health and menopause management, taking an individualized approach to health and wellness. The frequency of your well-woman exams depends on your overall health, gynecological and family history, and personal concerns.
Here, we talk about the well-woman exam after menopause, why you need it, and when to go.
Menopause and well-woman exams
A well-woman exam is an evaluation of your reproductive health. Once you reach menopause, you can no longer bear children, but that doesn’t mean you can skip this health exam.
This exam isn’t just about reproduction but the health and well-being of your sexual organs and how they affect your physical and emotional well-being.
During menopause, your estrogen levels decline, causing new symptoms and health problems like vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, or high cholesterol. Declining estrogen levels also affect bone health, increasing your risk of osteoporosis ― a serious bone disease that makes your bones porous and susceptible to fractures.
The focus of the well-woman exams during menopause is different, but it’s still important for your health.
Why you need well-woman care
We perform a physical, pelvic, and breast exam during your well-woman exam. These exams give us a general sense of your overall health.
We also perform these exams to screen for concerning health issues like cancer. Your risk of developing cancer increases as you get older. A manual breast exam at your well-women visit may find abnormal lumps that require further evaluation. We also make referrals for mammograms for breast cancer screening.
You also need to continue your regular Pap smears during menopause. Most women in the United States reach menopause around age 51 but must continue to get regular Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer every three years.
You can stop Pap smears at age 65 if you have three negative tests in a row.
When to see your OB/GYN
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends all women have a pelvic exam every year. However, depending on your current health, medical history, and family history, you may not need to come in every year for a well-woman exam.
The frequency of your well-woman visits depends on your personal health needs.
However, we recommend you come in for an evaluation whenever you have concerning symptoms related to your menopause or sexual health.
There are many misconceptions about life after menopause. But you can thrive during the “change of life.”
Has it been more than a year since your last well-woman exam? It’s time. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our women’s health experts.