There are several doctors that women should see annually to ensure general wellness and prevent future health concerns. The most important doctors a woman should see every year should be her primary care physician and her gynecologist. However, there are a few other doctors, like dentists and dermatologists, that women should also see regularly. Keep reading to learn what type of doctor a woman should see annually and how these regular visits contribute to overall wellness and disease prevention.
Scheduling a Visit with your Primary Care Physician
Most people know they should have a yearly physical exam with their primary care provider (or PCP) to ensure they are in good health and keep track of any known risk factors before becoming more pressing concerns. Visiting your primary care doctor regularly is a great way to prevent major illnesses and build a comprehensive medical history that can follow you to every specialist you see.
Most PCPs are family medicine doctors or general physicians, which means that they can perform a wide range of medical functions. Your yearly physical generally starts with measuring your vital signs like pulse rate, blood pressure, height, and weight. These key indicators are the first signs of the state of your health and can help the doctor assess your wellness during your checkup. Keeping a record of these vital signs means your doctor can track any changes that may indicate the onset of illness, giving them the opportunity to act proactively.
Since most people visit their PCP regularly, these doctors are usually well-versed in your family history. They can provide guidance regarding hereditary conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, or diabetes. If you have a family history of these illnesses and start to show risk-factors that could progress, your doctor may order some tests or give you a referral to follow-up with a specialist.
For example: If you’re over 45 or have a family history of colon cancer, your primary health doctor will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist to get a colonoscopy. This regular cancer screening isn’t an annual requirement, and most people only need to have one every ten years. However, you might need them more frequently if you have a family history of colon cancer.
Your yearly physical exam also is an opportunity to bring up any concerns about your health. For example, you can discuss mental health concerns like depression or fatigue with your doctor. Telling your doctor about these troubles can put you on a path to finding the right mental health professional for you, so you can start building a plan to feel better.
Your Yearly Visit With Your Gynecologist
Most women start having regular gynecologic appointments after puberty to make sure they have a full picture of their reproductive health. Generally, a woman should see her gynecologist every year for a regular pelvic exam. This routine check-up is essential for staying well and preventing disease in the future.
Your yearly exam with an ob/gyn will include some of the same features as an annual physical, including the gathering of vital signs like blood pressure, height, and weight. After that, your doctor will do an internal pelvic exam, which usually includes a pap smear. This procedure involves scraping the cervix to collect cells that are sent for testing. Results from a pap smear can be used to diagnose sexually transmitted infections like HPV. It can also be used to detect cervical cancer and other abnormalities.
Of course, gynecologists also oversee the prescribing and use of birth control. Doctors don’t prescribe hormonal birth control just for contraception. Women can also use it to manage hormone levels. If you use hormonal birth control, your doctor may add a round of blood tests to your yearly check-up to ensure that your levels are consistent.
While a gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in women’s health, an obstetrician is a kind of doctor that takes care of pregnant women. Many doctors combine these specialties as ob/gyns. All three of these doctors are overseen by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, making sure that these doctors are practicing with the best information and care for their patients.
Other Doctors You Should See Regularly
While you may already see your primary care physician and NYC gynecologist annually, there are a few other doctors you should visit regularly. These doctors fit into a holistic healthcare plan that treats your whole body, preventing mild symptoms from becoming more significant concerns.
Visiting a doctor accredited by the American Dental Association is a great way to make sure that you’re taking care of an integral part of your health. While most people see their dentists several times a year for cleanings, it’s essential to visit at least once a year for regular x-rays of your mouth and preventive services. Poor dental hygiene is linked to health concerns outside of the mouth, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. A regular dental exam can be an early screening for different types of health issues.
Most women know that dermatologists are important for preventing signs of aging, but they also serve an essential role in preserving your overall health. Many dermatologists do skin cancer screenings as part of their regular checkups, which can help prevent melanoma, which is one of the most dangerous cancers in women. Several other health concerns have risk factors that show in your skin, like liver complications or diabetes, so visiting a dermatologist for an annual visit is a great way to ensure your well-being.
You should schedule regular eye exams even if you have 20/20 vision. Living with an incorrect eyeglass prescription (or not having glasses when you need them) can headaches or result in dangerous situations while driving. Annual visits with your optometrist can also prevent eye disease, ensuring that your future always looks bright.
Visiting the Doctor During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Every doctor is well-versed in the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and is doing everything they can to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some doctors have noticed their patients are avoiding regular appointments during the pandemic to avoid visiting medical offices. This is causing a secondary healthcare crisis, as people aren’t engaging in the preventive care needed to prevent significant health issues.
If you’re worried about transmission of the coronavirus during regular checkups, call your doctor’s office ahead of time and ask them about the measures they’re implementing to ensure all patients are safe from the virus. Personal health practices like wearing a mask and washing your hands are generally enough to ensure your well-being and make sure you can get the health screenings you need to stay well.
If you haven’t had a checkup in a few years, finding a new provider can be a stressful experience. However, it doesn’t have to be. If you reach out to us at Great City Medical, we can get you scheduled for an annual exam with one of our primary care doctors or gynecologists to get you on a long-term healthcare plan that will serve you for years to come. We believe that regular wellness appointments don’t have to be stressful or inconvenient. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get on the path to better health.