Women’s care is hardly “the same issue over and over again.” Women’s reproductive health and wellness needs continue to evolve over time. A woman in her 20s has very different needs than one in her 40s, and has very different needs from her 65 year-old counterpart.
An OB/GYN Provides Preventative Care at Each Stage of Life
It is fact that the preventative care provided for a woman in her 20’s will help her to be a much healthier, happier and empowered woman when she is 65. Here is an example of how preventative care is different at each stage of your life.
Preventative Care For Teenage Women
At this stage of the game, we are more about getting to know one another than we are about exams. Without a first visit during the teenage years, young women often lack the opportunity to get to know their OB/GYN or to feel comfortable about their changing reproductive system.
Unless there is specific cause for concern, an appointment or two during these years will be an opportunity for us to get to know our client and for her to get to know us. We will stick to a very conservative general exam, no pap smear or internal exam is required, and we will discuss healthy lifestyle habits, answer her questions and discuss birth control options if appropriate.
Preventative Care For Women in Their 20s and 30s
In most cases, a woman will not have her first pelvic exam or Pap smear until she is in her very late teens or 20s. They simply aren’t needed unless there are symptoms or signs of a specific medical condition. We recommend that women have their first pap smear at age 21 or three years after they become sexually active, whichever happens first.
By now, many women are using birth control so we will check in to make sure they are using the method that is right for them. If a woman is sexually active, we will want to make sure she is using condoms to protect herself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and we will offer STD screening as well.
These decades bring a wealth of baby bumps into our office and we have the supreme joy of watching healthy mothers give birth to healthy babies. We also enjoy helping women with fertility issues get the assistance they need to give birth to their own healthy babies as well.
We can update her vaccination records and will begin to discuss family planning as well as the diet and lifestyle choices that will facilitate conception when she is ready to make that leap.
Preventative Care for Women in Their 40s through Mid-60s
Wellness care has changed for women ages 40 through 60. Now, we have 45 year olds in their first pregnancy sitting next to 45 year olds who are in the beginning stages of perimenopause. These are powerful decades in a woman’s life, to say the least. For this reason, many of our clients eventually ask us about permanent birth control options at some point.
We will continue to monitor our patients’ lifestyle and diets at this stage to help them maintain healthy weights and to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. For example, women in their 40s need more calcium at this stage and a renewed commitment to exercise can become instrumental in battling a slowing metabolism. Hormonal imbalances are a natural result of menopause, but they show up in mysterious and unpredictable ways. Thus, it’s important to us that we keep in touch with our patients year by year to ensure they are getting the hormonal and/or non-hormonal treatments they need to feel like themselves.
In most cases, pap smears are still recommended every three years until about age 65. We will also help you stay up to date with your mammograms, colonoscopies at age 50, bone screening and other standard health screenings.
Preventative Care for Women 65 and Over
By now, you have “Graduated” (so to speak) from many of the exams and tests required by younger women. Unless you have had cervical cancer, or multiple pre-cancerous results from previous pap smears, you will no longer need a pap smear. At this stage, we will be focused on healthy lifestyle tips and recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease, obesity and/or diabetes. Our job is to help you age healthfully and gracefully.
We love having the opportunity to take care of women at every stage of the game. Are you looking for an OB/GYN who provides holistic preventative care for women of all ages? Contact Overlake OB/GYN and schedule an appointment.