Q

Menopause

After menopause, do I still need complete gynecological exams?

A Answers (4)

  • A , Internal Medicine, answered
    If you are having sex (and we hope you are) and are female, yes. Annual exams, including complete gynecological exams, are good preventive measures. And the screening exams that you receive through your gynecologist can be life saving.

    As you age, the risk for certain health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and breast cancer increases, especially after menopause.

    For many women, the gynecologist is the only doctor they see regularly, so your gynecologist may be the only person to pick up on your elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol. So keep up your visits, no matter what.
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  • Every women should continue to have an annual gynecological exam for good preventive health. Especially as women age, the risk of cancer can increase. It is important to monitor reproductive organ health. Women at higher risk of ovarian or cervical cancer should talk with their doctor about monitoring their health carefully. Not all women will need an annual Pap test–those without a cervix, and those over 65 who have had 3 negative tests or no abnormal results in 10 years will not generally need one. But an annual exam is important to check for other medical conditions. 
  • A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Menopause may be a time of transition, but one thing that does not change is the need to see a gynecologist on a regular basis. In fact, since some cancers become more common as a woman ages, these office visits can take on an even greater importance after midlife. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all women 21 and up have an annual pelvic exam, in which a doctor checks the health of your reproductive organs. Some women, such as those who have had hysterectomies, may not need an annual exam. ACOG also recommends a cytology and HPV screening every 5 years or cytology alone every 3 years. Screening may be discontinued at age 65 if the previous three cytology tests are normal, or if the patient has had two negative cytology and HPV tests within the last 10 years, as long as the most recent tests were done within the last 5 years.
  • A , Women's Health, answered
    Many women call their annual gynecological exam a pap test (not "smear"). This test does not need to be done annually. However, while guidelines vary, experts in women's health including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, support annual exams to check multiple aspects of health above and beyond the pap test. In particular in the postmenopause age group, increased risk of breast cancer and increased vaginal tissue problems need to be monitored.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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