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The Significance of Gynaecological Check Ups Post-Menopause

H, 55, had been menopausal for the past 5 years. She was taken aback one morning when she discovered her underwear was stained with a patch of fresh blood. She was anxious and wanted to know the cause of the bleeding. Examination revealed that she had a small urethral caruncle which is a non-cancerous fleshy growth at the opening of the urinary passage. She was treated conservatively and recovered well. “Doc," she said, " I should have come for an annual checkup which I stopped for the past few years as I thought I had entered menopause and I don’t need to see a gynae anymore.”


H is not alone in her thinking. Many women stop seeing their gynaecologist as they get older and are no longer in their reproductive years. In fact, regular gynaecological checkups are important for a woman's health at this stage of life. An annual visit would have given women the chance to get educated about the changes in their body, be screened for certain cancers and chronic conditions, and get advice on adopting a healthy lifestyle.


The following are the reasons why women should see their gynaecologist post-menopause.


1. Screening for cancer

The risk of female cancer, such as uterine and ovarian cancers increases with age. An annual visit to the gynaecologist helps provide early detection for these cancers.


A pelvic exam can also check for other noncancerous conditions such as ovarian cysts and fibroids as well as a variety of conditions that may develop with age. It is advisable for women to get a pelvic exam every year so that they can be checked for early signs of disease.


The risk of breast cancer also increases with age. A breast examination to detect abnormal lumps is usually performed during the check up and mammogram is advised as a screening test.


2. Treating menopausal symptoms

Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and weight gain. The visit is an ideal time to discuss and learn about these changes and appropriate treatment strategies including options for hormone replacement therapy could be instituted.


3. Emotional Well-being

Menopause can also affect emotional and mental health. Gynaecologists can offer advice and support for managing mood changes, anxiety, or depression associated with this phase of life.


4. Sexual health and intimacy counseling

Declining estrogen levels are a major factor behind low libido as well as vaginal dryness and vaginal thinning. These changes can cause pain during sex.


Sexual health is usually overlooked during health checkups, but it’s an area that is important to overall well-being. Treatment options can be discussed during the visit so that these problems could be resolved.

Tests for sexually transmitted infections can also be done.


5 Urinary and pelvic floor disorders

Many women may have urinary problems after menopause, like urge and stress incontinence. There may be other pelvic floor disorders, such as uterine prolapse, which is when the pelvic floor muscles are weak and the pelvic organs slip down from their normal position.


A gynaecologist can help educate the woman about these issues and advise on what kind of exercises, strategies, and treatment methods can help.


6. Screening for Health Issues

Post-menopausal women are at higher risk for certain health conditions such as osteoporosis, metabolic and heart diseases. At the gynae visit, basic preventive screenings and tests can be done so that these conditions can be detected early when they are more treatable.


7. Lifestyle Guidance

Gynaecologists can provide advice on healthy lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise, and managing stress, which becomes especially important after menopause to maintain overall health and well-being. These can help women stay healthy and active as they age.


Conclusion

In conclusion, regular gynaecological checkups after menopause play a vital role in maintaining overall health, detecting any potential issues early, and receiving guidance on managing the changes associated with this phase of life.


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