There are plenty of changes that occur in a woman's body during adolescence and early adulthood. There are plenty of ups and downs, and rollercoasters of emotions during this time for any woman — all of which are normal reactions to their body’s changes during this stage. Regular OB-GYN visits are essential to helping women of any age understand the importance of taking care of one’s health.
What is an OB-GYN?
An obstetrician-gynecologist, or OB-GYN for short, is a doctor who specializes in women’s reproductive health. They are also the doctors who care for women during and after their pregnancy. An OB-GYN is trained to deal with the issues related to birth control, childbirth, menopause, cancer screenings and urinary tract problems, and can even perform surgery on pelvic organs.
Establishing a bond
The first step to ensuring that you will regularly visit your OB-GYN is to find one that you trust. Take your time and do your research — it is one of the most sensitive and complex parts of your body. Make sure to get referrals and screen for specialists as needed. Try to establish a relationship and bond between you and the doctor as this can help you relax and feel comfortable during examinations.
Regular gynecological exams serve three main purposes. The first is to obtain accurate information and confidential answers to any questions you may have concerning sexual activity, menstruation and your changing body in general. This is also a great time to learn about pregnancy and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases. The last reason is to find treatment for anyone who may be experiencing any missed periods, pain, reproductive problems or symptoms of cancer. Make sure to schedule an appointment for your exam to take place during the middle of your menstrual cycle.
Regular examinations by your gynecologist should not take more than an hour. Remember that exams are necessary and important for maintaining optimum health. Embarrassment is normal, just remember that you are not the only woman to undergo these exams regularly. Breathe deeply and try to relax — it will be over before you know it.
The circle of life
Throughout the course of a woman's life, there is a variety of gynecological procedures that a woman may go through. For the years from adolescence to early adulthood, an annual visit will be more of a conversation than an exam. The purpose of the OB-GYN at this stage is to properly educate, rather than examine (unless necessary due to certain symptoms or conditions).
As these adolescents mature to adults, the annual exam may include a breast, abdominal and pelvic exam to check for abnormalities such as lumps or painful regions within the body. As women reach the menopause phase, medication and other treatments and therapies may be needed. After the exam, an office nurse of the doctor will follow up with any test results usually through phone or email.
The bottom line
Your OB-GYN is trained to understand the various parts and aspects of your body, and to help you feel as comfortable as possible in your own skin. Do not be afraid to open up with your doctor as everything between patient and doctor is considered confidential.
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