Create a checkup checklist for your next appointment

 

Make a list of things you want to discuss during your appointment so you don’t forget anything.
Make a list of things you want to discuss during your appointment so you don’t forget anything.

Dr. Jacqueline Kates

May 15 is National Women’s Checkup Day, which serves as an important reminder for women who are often taking care of children, parents and/or partners, that they also need to make time to care for themselves. Annual checkups can play a significant role in your overall health, especially because health care has become more personalized over the past few years.

For example, recommendations about routine screenings have changed. New guidelines take into account women’s health and family histories when determining when screenings such as annual mammograms and PAP smears should start and how frequently they should be repeated.

However, even if annual Pap smears aren’t recommended for you, you will still benefit from an annual checkup. There are many sexual, reproductive and gynecological health issues that are important to address.

Bringing a list of questions and concerns to the appointment can help you ensure you are covering all your health bases. Matters you may want to add to your list include your:

  • Menstrual cycle, including how regular it is, symptoms and their severity, and any changes or issues you have noticed.
  • Risks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and need for screening. It’s possible to have an STI and not have symptoms. Testing is the best way to screen and diagnose.
  • Birth control and family planning questions. We can help you choose the most appropriate birth option based on your health and lifestyle, and can also provide guidance about becoming pregnant when you are ready.
  • Cancer risk factors and screening recommendations, as well as instructions for how to perform a breast self-exam.
  • Other gynecological issues, such as frequent yeast or urinary tract infections, painful sexual activity or symptoms like itching or burning.

We want you to feel comfortable discussing all of your health issues or questions with us. There’s nothing you can ask us that we haven’t been asked before. Our goal is to provide the best possible care, and to empower you to play an active role in your health.

Are you due for a checkup? Call us for an appointment today.

 

Sexually transmitted diseases on the rise; prevention and testing are essential

April is STD Awareness Month.
April is STD Awareness Month.

Dr. Robert Wool

More than 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year, and more than 2 million cases of the three nationally reported STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis) were reported in the United States last year alone; the highest number ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The good news is that STDs can be prevented and are easy to treat. However, routine testing and prompt treatment are essential.

Many people who have an STD don’t know it because they often don’t have signs or symptoms. If left untreated, STDs can lead to serious health problems. The only way to know for sure whether you have an STD is to get tested.

STD Prevention and Treatment

Effective prevention strategies include: abstaining from sex; practicing mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner, reducing the number of sexual partners; and consistently using condoms. Vaccines are available to help prevent hepatitis B and some of the most common forms of HPV (human papillomavirus).

Antibiotics can cure chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis; without treatment they put men, women and infants at risk for severe, lifelong health problems, chronic pelvic pain, infertility and other reproductive problems, HIV infection, and even death. Syphilis, which was nearly eradicated about a decade ago, is on the rise, and can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy.

We urge all of our patients who are sexually active to make annual STD screening and timely treatment part of their routine health care. We encourage open dialogue so you are aware of your health risks and can take the steps necessary to reduce them. Some people may be embarrassed to talk to their health provider about STDs, but there is no shame in taking steps to ensure your health; our main goal is to provide the best possible health care.

If you have any questions about STDs or need testing, call us for an appointment.