9 Primary care services you didn’t know your gynecologist provides
Your OB/GYN provides more than just pelvic exams and pregnancy care. He or she can be your lifelong partner in achieving better health – from your first Pap smear to menopause and beyond. And seeing your gynecologist for primary care can make taking care of your health more convenient. That’s why it’s important to know the range of health services your OB/GYN can provide, and how these all fit together for a complete picture of your health.
Next time you see your gynecologist for your well-woman exam, ask about these important primary care services, too.
1) Heart health screenings
Your gynecologist can help you keep an eye on your heart with blood pressure screenings, cholesterol screenings and blood sugar screenings to monitor your health as you age. They can also give you advice and counseling on how to maintain good heart health through exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation.
2) Thyroid screenings
Thyroid conditions may affect your health and your hormones—including the ones responsible for your menstrual cycle. Your gynecologist can perform tests and diagnose thyroid conditions that can affect many aspects of your health.
Your OB/GYN can help protect your health with for illnesses like the flu, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis and more. These vaccines are important for women of all ages and especially vital for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Every woman should start getting at a different age depending on their family history and other risk factors. Your OB/GYN can help you decide the right time to start this lifesaving screening and may even offer this service in their offices.
5) Nutrition counseling
Good is key to a healthy life. Your OB/GYN can provide nutrition counseling suited to your stage of life, whether you are pregnant or facing the changes of menopause. Good nutrition helps you maintain a healthy weight, stave off heart disease and even reduce your risk for osteoporosis. They can also recommend supplements like folic acid or calcium depending on your age and health goals.
6) Mental health evaluations
Conditions that affect your reproductive health might affect your mental health, too. For instance, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) might increase your risk for depression. Having a child may result in postpartum depression. Your OB/GYN can evaluate you for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and get you the care you need for better mental health.
7) Cancer screenings
Depending on your medical and family history, you may need to be screened for cervical or ovarian cancer. Your gynecologist performs these screenings and helps you understand your risk for these conditions.
8) Osteoporosis screenings
As women age, they can experience bone loss due to osteoporosis. Your gynecologist can help you reduce your risk for osteoporosis with medicines and nutrition counseling. They can also perform DEXA (duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry) screenings to diagnose osteoporosis and help you find the treatment you need for healthier bones.
9) Weight loss help
Many gynecologists offer to help you tackle obesity and maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity and good nutrition can improve all aspects of your health, reducing your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.