Making sure you have regular check-ups with a healthcare professional can be essential in maintaining and improving female reproductive health. Gynaecologists are medical experts specialising in female reproductive health and provide assessments and advice on things like contraception, fertility, menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, and cervical health.
It is recommended to have a check-up at least once a year, and possibly more frequently if there is a history of health issues in your family.
Fertility refers to your ability to conceive children and a variety of things can affect it. Having children is very important to a lot of people, so ensuring that you’re having regular check-ups can inform you of potential risks you may be predisposed to.
According to a Sydney fertility specialist, Dr. Derek Lok, a variety of causes could prevent you from becoming pregnant such as endometriosis, tubal disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome. By going for regular check-ups, these things can be recognised so they can be prevented, treated, or worked around (such as by using IVF), which can, in turn, help you to become pregnant.
On the other hand, contraception methods can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. A lot of women using the pill which has 99% effectiveness but can have side effects such as changes in blood pressure, moods, weight, and increased risk of blood clots.
Speaking to a doctor about the changes you experience can be extremely important, seeing as the pill is linked to hundreds of deaths in the USA every year.
Checking for Diseases and Infections
Seeing a gynaecologist regularly can help signs of diseases and health risks be recognised early on. Early diagnosis of certain health issues means treatment can be started earlier, which can be life-saving.
Treating diseases and infections early such as bacterial vaginosis can prevent the issue from spreading, reduce the symptoms you may experience, and allow less invasive procedures and treatments. Some of the following health issues can be detected during a check-up.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina where strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is often transmitted through sex, can cause cervical cancer.
Pap tests can be performed during a pelvic exam to determine whether you may have it; if a diagnosis is given, you can be referred to a gynecologic oncologist who can advise quickly on the next steps of treatment.
Sexually transmitted diseases can be passed during sexual intercourse. If left untreated, they can have serious health implications. Check-ups can test for STIs and a treatment plan can be given.
Some STIs are incurable so you will technically live with the infection for life, but they can be treated through antibiotics, which can inhibit the effect on the body. Preventing STIs can be done by having protected sex through the use of a condom, or by abstaining from sex. You can also consider an urgent care STD test to be on the safe side.
Gynaecologists will often perform screenings and examine the breasts to check for signs of breast cancer. You can perform these same checks on yourself at home (feel for lumps and thickened areas) and consult a doctor immediately if you have any concerns.
Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This can cause pain and infertility, and it can be difficult to detect. By discussing any symptoms you may be experiencing during your reproductive health check-up, then you can be referred for a minor surgical procedure known as laparoscopy to determine whether you have it.
Most women experience monthly periods, but sometimes you may experience abnormal menstruation. This can include excessive bleeding, spotting between periods, and extremely long or short cycles; living with these symptoms shouldn’t be your norm, so speaking to a doctor if you experience any of these issues is a good idea. Your period can also be an indication of pathologic conditions (such as endometriosis), so it’s so important to have check-ups with your doctor.
When you stop your period, there can sometimes be complications in your reproductive health due to changes in hormone levels. Checking in with a doctor can help identify any problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as help you to manage the usual symptoms, such as hot flashes.
As you can see, regular check-ups are extremely important in identifying potential risks to your reproductive health. They can provide early diagnosis of diseases which can limit the spread of the issue, and subsequently have a positive benefit on your life.
Your fertility can also be assessed and preventive measures or treatment plans put in place, to ensure that you will become pregnant (or contraception used if you don’t want to!).