Many women think they no longer need gynecological exams after they’ve hit menopause. However, GYN care is still extremely important for women.
Menopause is a natural time of a woman’s life. Often referred to as “the change,” it marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles and the cessation of estrogen production. The average age when this change occurs is around 51 years old. Younger women may also experience menopause if it is premature or if they have had a hysterectomy. Regardless of your age, if you have already experienced menopause, you still need to get regular gynecological exams.
GYN Visits for Regular Checkups
Once you have begun perimenopause, the stage in which your body goes through changes that eventually lead to menopause, it’s important to continue going to your gynecologist for regular checkups. While the average age when women officially reach menopause is 51, it can also occur earlier or later. Informing your gynecologist of any irregularities or changes in your menstrual cycle and of any particular symptoms you are experiencing is important.
Informing your doctor about unusual or abnormal pain, noticeable changes to your period such as heavy bleeding or less bleeding than normal and whether you have had a lapse in your period is essential. You should also inform your doctor if you have experienced pain during sexual intercourse.
What to Expect at Postmenopausal Gynecological Appointments
There is a lot that goes on during a woman’s postmenopausal gynecological appointment. Generally speaking, the doctor will perform certain exams to check for potential problems that may occur after menopause. You will be checked for vulval lesions, vaginal atrophy, lichen sclerosis, early signs of bladder or rectal prolapse and for precancerous cells.
Pap smears are still equally important once you have reached menopause. Doctors advise getting this type of screening every two to three years, even if you have undergone a hysterectomy and are over the age of 65.
Overall, health checks are extremely important once you have gotten older, just as they are for younger women. Your body is going through a number of changes that can lead to serious issues if they are not addressed in a timely manner.
Various Tests to Undergo After Menopause
There are a number of important aspects of GYN care that require you to undergo certain tests. Many of these should still be done after menopause and include the following:
- Genetic test for breast and ovarian cancer: Even after you reach menopause, you may want to be tested for gene mutations that determine whether you’re at risk for breast or ovarian cancer. Women who have a personal or family history of cancer should undergo the test.
- Pelvic exams: A regular pelvic exam can check the condition of the ovaries, uterus and rectum and check for various diseases like cancers. While many people think only women who are still of reproductive age should have pelvic exams, they are important no matter what your age.
- Hormone testing: Whether you are in perimenopause or have already reached menopause, hormone testing is essential. Hormone tests are important tests to determine if there is a deficiency that requires hormone replacement therapy or other treatment.
- HPV test: An HPV test is also important as it can detect whether you are at risk for cervical cancer.
When you continue to visit your doctor for regular GYN checkups and screening after menopause, you are taking control of your health and life in general. This is a positive step forward that will benefit you and your entire family.