As you enter menopause, your body undergoes significant changes. Now that you’ve left your child-bearing years behind, you may wonder if there’s any change to how often you should get a well-woman exam.
Our caring staff at Eve Medical of Miami helps you safeguard your health, and you should have a gynecological exam every year, even after menopause. Well-woman exams are critical tools that help doctors discover early stage cancer and other diseases. Early treatment yields the best results if your doctor does find evidence of disease.
Well-woman exams after menopause
Depending on your age and health risks, your exam may include a Pap test, a pelvic exam, and a manual breast exam with a script for mammography to be performed. The risk for cancer rises with age, and all of these check for signs of cancer and any abnormalities in your reproductive organs.
We also may check for other important health risks at your well-woman exam that are increasingly important after menopause: osteoporosis and cholesterol levels as well as any sexually transmitted diseases if you’re sexually active.
Your exam may include a Pap test after menopause, as doctors recommend this screening about every three years until age 65 or, if you’re over 65, when you’ve had recent abnormal test results. Pap tests help identify cervical cancer and abnormal cells that can lead to it. HPV infections cause most cervical cancers.
We let you know when your next Pap test should occur, if it’s not at this appointment.
Your annual gynecological exam includes an examination of your internal pelvic organs. The exam can detect fibroids in your uterus, ovarian cysts, and cancer.
Fibroids are rare during menopause, but they still can occur. You could also develop ovarian cysts or cancer, so the pelvic exam is important every year. The exception: If you’ve had a hysterectomy with removal of your cervix, you don’t need this exam anymore.
Your doctor performs a manual breast exam, palpating the breasts and examining them for any rashes, lumps, or pain. The risk of breast cancer increases with age.
You shouldn’t stop getting mammograms at menopause. Your doctor lets you know whether you need to schedule a mammogram annually or every other year.
If you’re sexually active with more than one partner, we check for STDs during your exam. STDs can lead to other health complications if left untreated.
Colorectal cancer screening
Your doctor lets you know if you need to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.
Another important test during your well-woman exam is a blood test to determine your cholesterol levels. On average, cholesterol levels increase regularly until age 65, when they tend to plateau in women.
An elevated LDL cholesterol level, which composes most of your cholesterol, raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. We can prescribe medication to lower your cholesterol levels, which can help lower your risk.
Women are at increased risk of osteoporosis at and beyond menopause. You’ve lost estrogen, which is a protective factor against bone loss. About 50% of postmenopausal women have osteoporosis.
You’re at risk of fracturing a bone because your bones have lost density; they’re too porous. We let you know when you need to have a bone density screening.
When was your last well-woman exam? Our team provides comprehensive exams every year and ensures you’re up to date with recommended screenings. Call Eve Medical of Miami or request an appointment through our online portal today.