Seeing an OBGYN is one of the most important parts of women’s healthcare, and it isn’t something that you should put off. However, a lot of people forgo their recommended visits due to some widely held, but false, myths. Here are five of the most common myths about your OBGYN and the truth that you should know.
1. You Have To Be At Least 21
Although many people believe that you don’t need to see an OBGYN until the age of 21, it’s actually recommended that girls start visiting around age 13. Starting at this age gives you the chance to build up trust with your provider, and build the best foundation for future gynecological health. These visits can also give teens access to information about menstrual cycles and sexuality, as well as STD and pregnancy prevention.
2. You Don’t Need a Check-Up Every Year
Another myth is that you don’t need a check-up every year. However, even if you are healthy, it’s advised that you still keep yearly appointments with your OBGYN. This is because these visits can also check for other conditions such as high blood pressure, STDs, cancer, and osteoporosis. Your yearly visit is also a good time to discuss any changes you’ve noticed or any concerns that you have.
3. Exams and Pap Smears Include STD Testing
Regular exams and pap smears don’t check for STDs and, unless requested by you, the test won’t be automatically done. If you want to be screened for STDs, you’ll need to speak to your OBGYN during your visit and discuss any concerns that you may have.
4. Regular Exams Only Benefit Reproductive Health
In order to become an OBGYN, a person must complete four years of medical school, followed by a four-year obstetrics-gynecology residency. This means that they aren’t just looking after your reproductive health, but the health of your body as a whole. If you have any concerns or questions about anything, you can always talk to your OBGYN for more information. Around half of all OBGYN’s consider themselves to be primary care providers, meaning they can help with a wide range of medical problems, not just reproductive issues.
5. You Can’t Have an Exam On Your Period
Lastly, some women think that they must cancel their OBGYN appointments if they are on their periods. However, you should consider your flow first before rescheduling. A light flow won’t interfere with an exam or pap smear, but an unusually heavy flow may mean that you should keep your appointment, especially if that is unusual for you. When in doubt, you can always call your OBGYN and discuss the best course of action.
There are a lot of myths surrounding OBGYN visits, but one thing is certain. Keeping your regular OBGYN visits is crucial for women’s health, and it isn’t something that you should ever avoid.