Why Seniors Need Annual Women's Exams

Many women over 65 may think that they no longer need to see their gynecologist every year, especially if they have had a hysterectomy or are no longer sexually active. However, this is a misconception that can put their health at risk.

Here are some reasons why seniors still need annual women's exams.

Cancer Screenings

Many women over 65 do not need a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer unless they have a history of abnormal results or a high-risk condition. However, annual women's exams are much more than Pap smears; they offer an opportunity to screen for various cancers.

Older women still need a pelvic exam for an assessment of their vagina, external genitalia, bladder, rectum, ovaries, and uterus (if they have not been removed). These exams can help detect uterine, ovarian, and vulvar cancers, which can increase with age and have subtle or no symptoms in the early stages.

Breast Exams

Another important reason to get a yearly gynecological examination is to allow the doctor to examine your breasts for signs of cancer. Women who have reached the age of 40 and older should have annual mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and the risk increases with age. A clinical breast exam can help find lumps or changes that may not be detected by a mammogram or self-exam.

Overcoming Age-related Symptoms

An annual gynecological exam is also good for overcoming symptoms that tend to appear with age, such as bladder and bowel issues, vaginal dryness, pain during sex, or low libido. These issues can affect a woman's quality of life and well-being, but they are not inevitable or untreatable. A gynecologist can offer solutions such as pelvic floor exercises, hormone therapy, lubricants, or medications to help improve these symptoms and restore sexual function.

Answering Questions

Finally, an annual gynecological exam can serve as a time to ask questions and get advice on how to maintain optimal vaginal health. A gynecologist can provide information on how to prevent infections, manage menopause symptoms, or reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. They can also address any concerns or fears that a woman may have about her body or sexuality.

Annual women's exams are important for women of all ages, including seniors. Women over 65 should not neglect their gynecological care and should schedule an appointment with their doctor every year.

For more information on annual women's exams, contact a professional near you.