From Ob/Gyn to girl's best friend
Whether you’re heading off to college, expecting your first child, or enjoying the new found freedom of an empty nest, every stage in a woman’s life is unique. So it’s nice to know there is someone who can help you navigate the unexpected, and often, that person is your Ob/Gyn.
Whatever it is, you can ask your Ob/Gyn
“Ob/Gyns discuss important and sensitive issues that some women don’t even share with their closest friends,” says Denise Sutler, MD, Ob/Gyn with The Christ Hospital. “We can care for the most important components of female and reproductive health throughout a woman’s life.”
“How would I know if I have an STD?”
Though our friends and moms are good sources for a lot of information, there are just some things you’d rather not ask over dinner. Your Ob/Gyn, on the other hand, is the perfect person with whom to have a candid conversation about your sex life. In addition to practicing safe sex, early detection can be key to maintaining sexual health.
“If you’re sexually active, it’s time to start your annual pelvic exams and PAP tests,” says Dr. Sutler. She also encourages young women see their Ob/Gyn before becoming sexually active to discuss the importance of avoiding STDs like Chlamydia, gonorrhea and the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can be a precursor to cervical cancer.
“Am I really ready to start a family?”
Many (but not all) women hear their biological clock ticking in their mid-20s and early 30s. Other women may decide to establish themselves in their careers or relationships before starting a family. Through yearly visits to their Ob/Gyn, women can discuss this important milestone and begin preparing for it as the time comes.
According to Dr. Sutler, preconception counseling covers issues like prenatal vitamins, chronic disease management and fertility tracking. “We want women to be as healthy as possible before they get pregnant,” Dr. Sutler says.
Once you become pregnant, your Ob/Gyn will be your primary physician for the next nine months, monitoring you and your baby’s health through delivery and post-partum.
“What is this pain below my belt?”
Whether your symptoms are new or chronic, an Ob/Gyn can help determine what’s causing your pelvic pain. “Pelvic pain can affect women of all ages, so it’s up to us to take a complete family history and, if needed, order the right tests to get to the root of the problem,” Dr. Sutler says. Many times, Ob/Gyns also perform procedures that address pelvic pain caused by uterine fibroids, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
“I’m 40. Now what?”
Though it used to be considered “over the hill,” many women now view 40 as the most liberating and care-free decade yet. But with it comes screening recommendations such as your baseline mammogram. Dr. Sutler recommends scheduling your mammogram during your birthday month so you never forget about it.
Women with a family history of breast cancer may begin their annual mammograms at an earlier age, so be sure to discuss your health history with your Ob/Gyn.
“Is it hot in here?”
One minute you're hot, the next you're cold. And we’re not just talking about your attitude. In your 50s, physical symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings and lack of sex drive could indicate the onset of menopause.
Rather than suffer through this transition, Dr. Sutler and many other Ob/Gyns can offer patients strategies to deal with fluctuating estrogen levels. In your 50s and beyond, your Ob/Gyn can also help keep you on track with routine screenings like your PAP test, mammogram and colonoscopy.
Choose an Ob/Gyn advocate for your health
Although you should have a primary care physician for your general health and an Ob/Gyn for your women’s health services, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. “Often, we counsel women on everything from eating a healthy diet, to scheduling cholesterol screenings, to maintaining a healthy work-life balance,” Dr. Sutler says.
Learn how your Ob/Gyn can help you live well at every stage of life. Find an Ob/Gyn you can relate to by calling 877-904-4YOU or visit www.TheChristHospital.com.