Dear women, do NOT ignore a visit to your gynecologist post-menopause

Published on: 3 March 2022, 09:14 am IST

Menopause is an occurrence in every woman’s life and brings about several changes in the body. That’s exactly why it is essential not to ignore the signs and visit a gynecologist, even in your postmenopausal years.

post-menopause
Take care of yourself especially, post-menopause. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Menopause is a natural biological process that occurs when a woman goes through 12 consecutive months without a period. For most women, their end of child birthing years marks the end of their annual gynecological visits. But that’s a gross mistake, so do NOT ignore getting a pelvic exam done, even after menopause.

Why do I need to visit my Ob-gyn post-menopause?

As women enter menopause, they notice several changes in their bodies. One of the most prominent changes is reduced periods, post 40. The constant hormonal fluctuations can cause hot flashes. A woman’s body continues to change even after menopause, and most of these changes require gynecological care. It is important to regularly visit your gynecologist, even after menopause.

gynecologist visits post menopause
Once women pass their menopausal stage, they should visit a gynecologist Image courtesy: Shutterstock

However, it might be okay to decrease the frequency of the visits post-menopause as long as your exams have been healthy in the preceding years.

What problems can I face post-menopause?

While a postmenopausal woman does not have to worry about period cramps or pregnancy side effects, several medical conditions increase with the decrease in estrogen level after menopause. Most women blame these issues on age, normalizing them, but just because these are common issues does not mean they are normal.

Some of the medical conditions that can occur post-menopause and require gynecologist care include:

* Osteoporosis, is a condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile
* Irritation and dryness of the vagina and vulva
* Vaginal atrophy, wherein the vaginal lining gets drier and thinner, resulting in itching, burning, and pain
* Chronic urinary tract infections
* Urinary incontinence, which means, involuntary loss of bladder control
* Pelvic organ prolapse, in which the pelvis can slip from its normal position and can bulge into the vagina
* Postmenopausal bleeding
* Cardiovascular disease
* Ovarian cancer

What exams do I need after hitting menopause?

Specific examinations and tests still require post-menopause, making it essential to have an annual visit to the gynecologist. Some of these tests include;

1. Cancer screenings

Even after menopause, women are still at risk of cancers, namely uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. During your annual gynecological exam, the medical professional will determine the types of screenings that are appropriate for you based on your family history. Therefore, it is essential to continue visiting a gynecologist, even after menopause.

2. Pelvic exam

Pelvic exams are crucial to maintaining your gynecological health, even after menopause. Pelvic exams are performed to examine the outside of the vagina, the vagina, and the cervix for any signs of disease or infection. The exam is conducted by a medical professional, who will feel for lumps and check your uterus and ovaries’ shape, size, and position. The screening is especially important for women with symptoms related to a problem with their vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

gynecologist visits post menopause
Pap smears every three years can help you stay on top of your cervical health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Pap smear

Pap smear tests are recommended every three years up until the age of 65, which means also after menopause.

4. Sexual health

Gynecologists help people maintain a healthy sexual life. Most women remain sexually active post-menopause, so they must see their gynecologist monitor their sexual health issues. They should also get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections before beginning a new sexual relationship.

Dr Asha Hiremath Dr Asha Hiremath

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Indiranagar, Bangalore

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