What questions should you ask your gynecologist during an annual women's health exam? Your yearly appointment may be coming up — and you want to prepare. Before you visit the women's health office for a check-up with an OBGYN, take a look at the below questions to put on your must-ask list.
Is a Pap Test Needed Right Now?
The answer to this question depends on your age, past health history, and risk factors. The Pap test is a cervical cancer screening. Also known as cervical cytology, a Pap can detect abnormal changes in cells that may indicate pre-cancer or cancer. This screening tool is sometimes used with HPV (human papillomavirus) testing. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can cause a few other diseases.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) indicates that cervical cancer screening should start at age 21. The current ACOG recommendations include a Pap test every three years between the ages of 21 and 29. Women ages 30 to 65 can choose to have either a Pap and HPV test every five years, a Pap (and not an HPV test) every three years, or an HPV test every five years. Discuss these options with your doctor during your annual appointment.
Which Birth Control Option Is the Right One?
If you want to get pregnant ASAP, you won't need to ask this question. But you will have another set of questions to ask the OBGYN during your annual visit in the next section.
Women who want to prevent pregnancy and aren't on birth control or don't like their current method should talk to the doctor about their options. These include hormonal, non-hormonal, and barrier methods. When you discuss birth control, ask your gynecologist about the effectiveness of each method, contraindications, ease of use, side effects, and how often you need to use or replace it. Some methods, such as an IUD, can stay in place for years. These types of birth control options eliminate the need to take a daily pill.
What Should You Do To Prepare for Pregnancy?
Again, if you are ready to have a baby right now, you will want to talk to the OBGYN about pregnancy and prenatal care. These questions could include concerns relating to nutrition, vitamin use, medication use, lifestyle factors (such as alcohol or tobacco use), physical activity, and fertility. If you have already tried to get pregnant and haven't had success yet, talk to the doctor about screening tools or tests you may need and your fertility treatment options.
For more information, reach out to an OBGYN clinic like Cathy J. Berry M.D. & Associates.