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When Should You See a Gynecologist?

August 9, 2022

Knowing when to see a gynecologist is a crucial aspect of women’s healthcare. Gynecologists have specialized training in the reproductive system and reproductive health. Most women know that at some point they should see a gynecologist, but many wonder how often they should go to the gynecologist. 

gynecology services

It's important to know when you should go to the gynecologist and what type of circumstances may require a visit to an OB/GYN clinic. Learn more about when you should schedule a gynecology appointment.

Routine Exams

Many women wonder “When should I start going to a gynecologist?” and “How often should I go to the gynecologist?”. The answer to these questions is heavily dependent on your age and life circumstances. 

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends girls have their first gynecologic visit between the ages of 13 and 15. This visit helps answer any questions or concerns as their bodies change and develop. 

Once you turn 21 or become sexually active, it’s recommended that you start having annual visits with your gynecologist. Once you’ve reached 29/30 you can start having routine gynecological exams less frequently, given that you have no underlying conditions or concerns. 

Why Are Routine Exams Important?

Aside from discussing any questions or concerns you may have with an expert, the two most important reasons for routine gynecology exams are Pap smears and pelvic exams. Pap smears are done to detect cancer cells in the cervix. Discovering cervical cancer as soon as possible provides better outcomes for treatment and recovery. Pelvic exams detect any abnormalities that could be a cause for concern. Pelvic exams ensure your gynecological health by checking for cysts, STIs, swelling, or other conditions.  

Routine check-ups for preventative healthcare are not the only time that you should see a gynecologist. There are many other circumstances that warrant a trip to see an OB/GYN. 

You're Trying to Get Pregnant or Confirm a Pregnancy

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it can be beneficial to see an OB/GYN to ensure that your reproductive system is healthy. It is also a great opportunity to get professional advice and information on pregnancy that is personalized to your specific needs, goals, and health history. If you’ve taken a positive pregnancy test, it’s always a good idea to have a women’s clinic confirm your pregnancy. 

You've Noticed Changes or Have Concerns

Noticeable changes to your vagina are often a sign that something could be wrong and that it’s time to consult a doctor. Common changes that warrant a trip to an OB/GYN include:

  • Pain: Pain during intercourse and/or ongoing pain, burning, or tingling in the vaginal area.

  • Lumps: Growths, lumps, and blisters on either the inside or outer area of the vagina. 

  • Odor: While vaginal odor is not always a cause for concern, if you notice dramatic changes in the odor, it could be a sign of bacteria growth or vaginal infection. 

  • Visual Changes: Noticeable visual changes don’t always mean that something is wrong, but they can be a symptom of a variety of health conditions.  

  • Incontinence: Women of any age can experience incontinence, but it is more likely after childbirth and menopause. A gynecologist can suggest a variety of treatment options to address this condition. 

  • Painful Periods or Menstrual Irregularities: Heavy periods, prolonged periods, infrequent periods, and painful periods are all concerns that should be addressed by an OB/GYN. 

Compassionate, Personalized Gynecology Services

Many women feel uncomfortable discussing reproductive health concerns and conditions. At The Gabrielson Clinic for Women, we strive to make every patient feel comfortable and confident during obstetric and gynecology appointments. We provide sensitive, individualized, and expert women’s health services to help women lead their healthiest and happiest lives! 

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