It is National Women’s Health Week, which is a good time to remind women about making their health a priority and scheduling those routine checkups they might’ve put off during the pandemic.
“A lot of women do get caught up in everything and they think, ‘Oh I’ll deal with it when I have a problem,’ and I think it’s important to talk about these checkups because the way to prevent disease and increase survival for people is to catch it early or to be able to talk about these preventative measures,” said Salena Zanotti, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Zanotti said routine checkups for women typically include an overall wellness exam, in addition to a breast exam and pelvic exam.
Other tests may also be ordered depending on the person’s medical history and age. For example, they could need a blood panel done or a colorectal cancer screening if they’re over 45 years old.
She said these kinds of appointments aren’t only important for prevention, but to help identify any possible issues. Sometimes a woman may not realize the pain they’re feeling isn’t normal.
“A lot of women, especially younger women, deal with menstrual issues and really heavy periods and it keeps them from going to work, it keeps them from doing things and they’re afraid to talk about it. And it’s important to come talk about it because there may be something going on that we need to diagnose and fix and there are definitely ways we can help manage it so these things don’t affect your quality of life,” said Dr. Zanotti.
She said it’s also beneficial for women to know their family history so they’re aware of any health issues they could be at risk for.