Expecting moms. Adolescent girls. Post-menopausal women. Wellness is important for women in all stages of life.

A gynecologist treats patients with female reproductive organs. The visit may be uncomfortable, but it’s important to a woman’s overall health. During any visit, speak openly and honestly of health concerns, lifestyle and sexual health.

“Women take care of everyone else, but often forget to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Bailey Runkles, JRMC gynecologist & obstetrician.

Following are eight important reasons to see a gynecologist & obstetrician.

  1. Pelvic pain can be mild to severe. It can worsen during intercourse, bowel movements or urination. Conditions of the reproductive, urinary and digestive organs can all cause pelvic pain. Talk to an OB/GYN about treatment options.
  1. Sex. A gynecologist can help with painful intercourse, hormonal changes and sexually transmitted infections. A gynecologist can offer options for safe and healthy sexual relationships.
  1. Annual health screening. During an annual health screening, an OB/GYN may complete a breast exam, pap test, screen for sexually transmitted diseases, order a mammogram and even a bone density dexa scan. Postmenopausal women are recommended to have bone density tests to estimate the density of bones and the chance of breaking a bone. This test can also help diagnose osteoporosis.
  1. Ovarian cysts are pouches filled with fluid or tissue that forms in or on ovaries. Treatment options include waiting and watching the cyst and or surgery if the cyst is of significant size.
  1. Fertility and infertility. An OB/GYN can offer birth control, treatment for fertility as well as advice regarding how to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
  1. Pap and HPV testing. Pap tests are completed every three years once a woman reaches age 21 until age 30. At age 30, she continues to receive pap tests on a three-year basis, as well as HPV tests every five years, assuming normal results. At age 65, women may forgo pap and HPV testing if past results have been normal.
  1. Menopause and post-menopause. If a visit is regarding vaginal dryness, hot flashes and or irregular bleeding, an OB/GYN may offer treatment options.
  1. Menstrual cycles. OB/GYNs can provide education on what first periods will be like, as well as ways to improve painful, heavy and or irregular periods.
  1. Genital skin changes. Itching, burning bumps, rashes and pain are changes to the female genital area that should be consulted with a gynecologist. It is recommended to discuss symptoms that raise concern to determine what is normal and abnormal by a gynecologist.
  1. Urine leakage. Frequent or sudden urges to urinate can often be associated with urinary incontinence. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can all contribute to urinary incontinence and leaks.
  1. Prolapse can take place at any stage in a woman’s life. However, it commonly affects postmenopausal women who have delivered vaginally. Prolapse takes place when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments are no longer able to provide enough support for the uterus, resulting in the uterus slipping into or protruding out of the vagina.

“Our bodies are nothing to be embarrassed about,” said Dr. Runkles. “It’s just another part of being a woman.”

For pap tests, 3D mammograms or help with incontinence, hot flashes, infertility, contraception and high-risk pregnancy, schedule direct: (701) 952-4878.


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