A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

6 reasons not to skip women’s preventive health visits

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Annual exams are an essential way to stay on top of your health. Learn more about reasons to schedule your preventative health visits.

Annual wellness exams are an essential way to stay on top of your health. But if preventive health screenings don’t seem like a pressing need, you may let them fall off your radar while you focus on other things in your busy life. Dr. Ken Ostermann, OB/GYN and urogynecologist with Marshfield Clinic Health System, shares reasons to keep these visits on your radar each year.

Detect potential issues early

Early detection, of course, is the most crucial reason to keep up with your preventive health screenings. Generally, the earlier you catch a health problem, the easier it is to treat. Regular preventive health visits can help you track changes in your body, report symptoms, and get tests to identify any issues that aren’t symptomatic yet.

When it comes to women’s health screenings, Ostermann said mammograms and pap smears can catch some female cancers in an early stage when they’re easier to treat. As part of a general physical, blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol tests can expose warning signs of heart disease or other health concerns

Discuss questions and concerns

“When it comes to health, the internet is usually not your best friend,” Ostermann said. “Online search results won’t give you individualized answers for your health history and situation – only a trained women’s health provider can.”

Regular visits offer the chance to get trustworthy information and answers about changes in your body like a new lump, body aches, irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, fatigue or mood changes, and so on. If you are embarrassed to ask your provider a question, read our five tips for discussing sensitive topics with your provider to help you get the answers you need.

Maintain a relationship with your women’s health provider

You don’t just have to go to the doctor when something is wrong. Preventive screenings keep the connection and line of communication open, so you feel confident and comfortable about getting in touch when the need arises.

“We appreciate the chance to cultivate these ongoing relationships with patients,” Ostermann said, “and many women say they look forward to coming to see us year after year.”

Stay on track with lifestyle changes

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, preventive health visits can help ensure you’re getting advice about the proper exercise, sleep and nutrition for your stage of life. These appointments also let you monitor your progress in these areas. For example, if you’re working to lower your blood pressure or lose weight, regular visits will establish a record of those changes.

Alleviate stress and worry

We’ve all had that niggling thought in the back of our mind: “What if something’s wrong and I don’t even know it?”

Ostermann encourages you to schedule a preventive health screening to take that stress away. During the appointment, you will be informed about your health and renew your confidence about facing challenges when they arise.

Prepare yourself for pregnancy

If pregnancy is one of your future goals, ensuring that you stay up-to-date on preventive health screenings is even more critical. While some think that they only need to visit a women’s health provider after they get pregnant, Ostermann said it’s more beneficial to make a preconception appointment even before you start trying.

“This ensures your body is in optimal condition for pregnancy can help ensure the safety of you and your baby,” he said.

Request an appointment with your women’s health provider today to schedule your preventative health screening.

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