Some women only visit the gynecologist when they need to — they're pregnant, wanting to get on birth control, or have a yeast infection or other condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated. However, it's recommended that women see their gynecologist every year, and if you haven't scheduled your annual exam yet, you need to do it now.

It's important that you keep your visits to the gynecologist, even if you feel your reproductive health is fine. Here are reasons why.

You may have access to new birth control

If a new birth control hits the market, you should be aware of it. Your gynecologist checks how well your current birth control is working for you as part of your annual exam. If you have had recent weight gain or other supposed side effects from your current birth control or you want to go on birth control for the first time, your gynecologist will assist you.

You may have changes in your reproductive health

Part of your annual exam with your gynecologist is getting a pap smear. This essential part of your exam can help detect changes in your cervix that can lead to cervical cancer — a cancer that potentially kills over 4,000 women a year.

Your breast health can change as well, which is why your gynecologist gives you a breast exam as part of your regular exam. Your reproductive health is important and prevention and early diagnosis are key to keeping these potential cancers in check.

If you're approaching menopause or you have been wanting or trying to get pregnant without success, your gynecologist can help you with these transitions. You can be referred to specialists who exclusively work in these areas if you have concerns, or they can treat you in their office for a variety of reproductive health concerns.

You may have changes in your sexual health

Your sexual health is something your gynecologist is concerned about. If you have painful intercourse, have recurring vaginal discomfort during or after intercourse, or have concerns about STDs or want to be tested for STDs, these issues can be dealt with professionally and discreetly with your gynecologist. Your gynecologist can also help you if you are worried about your sexual health and mental well-being.

Your annual gynecologist visits should always be taken seriously. Don't miss these appointments, and if you have concerns about your reproductive health or have underlying issues your gynecologist can assist with, you may even want to see your gynecologist more frequently.

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