For many young girls, the transition from pediatrician to primary care physician takes place during their early teens, and often it is the primary care doctor who has initial discussions about hormones or birth control. However, during this time, and before a girl reaches her early 20s, she should see an OB-GYN annually, to begin developing a relationship with her doctor and for important gynecological screenings.
Your early 20s are an important time to establish healthy routines and habits that can last your entire life. Finding an OB-GYN you are comfortable with — and building a relationship where you can talk openly — is so helpful in creating a long-term healthy lifestyle.
The best time for a young woman to get established with an OB-GYN is before a health crisis arises, or before she decides to become pregnant. Women in their 20s should have annual pelvic and breast exams and a Pap smear to check for abnormal cell changes in the cervix. With all types of cancers, the earlier they are detected, the better the prognosis. In addition to routine screenings, OB-GYNs often detect other underlying conditions, especially anything hormone related, including:
• Hormone imbalances
• Pelvic pain
• Menstrual irregularity
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
• Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
• Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
• Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
• Thyroid disorders
OB-GYNs are highly trained to detect and treat female health issues, as they undergo extensive training specifically in women’s health — four years of undergraduate school for their bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school to become a medical doctor, and four years of residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Many have further training in a subspecialty or for certification in certain surgical techniques.
Young women have so many questions about their sexual health, menstrual cycles and hormones. A trusted OB-GYN can help them understand and take charge of their own bodies. It also is easy for young women to assume breast or cervical cancers are mostly found in older women. But the truth is that cancer can develop at any age, and early detection is critical.
For optimum women’s health care, getting established early on with an OB-GYN is critical.
– Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC has seven OB-GYNs and five advanced practice providers, with offices in Canton and Woodstock.