Why Do You Need An OB/GYN?

Most women are told from an early age that they need to have an OB/GYN. To give you a better idea why your OB/GYN plays such an integral role in your health and well-being as a woman, here is an overview of what an OB/GYN is and how they can help you:

What is an OB/GYN?

An OB/GYN is actually a doctor in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology. Obstetrics revolves around childbirth, while gynecology deals with the health of the female reproductive system. Since both fields are intimately connected, it makes sense for a single doctor to have experience and knowledge in both fields. This simplifies health care for women, since it means that they only have to visit one doctor to have all of their private health needs taken care of.

What does an OB/GYN actually do?

If everything goes well, then your OB/GYN will simply give you a checkup every couple of years. If something is found during one of those routine examinations, then your OB/GYN might direct you to a specialist who can help determine the exact nature of your ailment.

Specifically, your OB/GYN will probably give you a pap smear, breast exam, and pelvic exam on your first visit. The results and your demographic information will determine how often future visits are needed.

How often do you need to visit your OB/GYN?

Each of these three tests should be taken at different intervals.

The frequency at which you need a pap smear depends mostly on your age. You should start getting them around the time you turn 20. From then until the time you turn 30, you should get one every 3 years. After that, your risk factors slightly decrease and you will only need a pap smear every 5 or so years. Once you are in the 60–65 range, you probably won't need any more pap smears. However, certain individuals might continue to need pap smears after that age. Only your OB/GYN will be able to tell you for certain.

During their 20s, women should self-examine their breasts frequently for any noticeable lumps. A breast exam should be done by a doctor every few years until a woman turns 40. At this point, yearly mammograms are recommended due to the higher risk of breast cancer.

Pelvic exams are the most difficult to estimate. Some women need frequent pelvic exams while others do not. On your first visit to your OB/GYN at a clinic like Bee Ridge Obstetrics Gynecology, they will tell you exactly how often you should get pelvic exams in the future.