May is Women's Health Month. Doctors want to remind women about the importance of routine checkups.
“A lot of women do get caught up in everything and they think, ‘Oh, I’ll deal with it when I have a problem,’” Dr. Salena Zanotti, an OBGYN for Cleveland Clinic, said.
Dr. Zanotti said it's important to keep checkups routine.
"Because the way to prevent disease and increase survival for people is to, number one, catch it early or to be able to talk about these preventative measures, which is why these appointments are also important," she said.
Dr. Zanotti said routine checkups for women typically include an overall wellness exam, in addition to a breast exam and pelvic exam. Other tests may also be ordered depending on someone’s medical history and age. For example, they’ll need a blood panel done or a colo-rectal cancer screening if they’re over the age of 45. Dr. Zanotti said these kinds of appointments aren’t only important for prevention, but also to help identify any possible issues. Sometimes a woman may not realize the pain she's feeling isn’t normal.
“A lot of women, especially younger women, deal with menstrual issues and really heavy periods and it keeps them from going to work, it keeps them from doing things, and they’re afraid to talk about it. And it’s important to come talk about it because there may be something going on that we need to diagnose and fix, and there are definitely ways we can help manage it so these things don’t affect your quality of life," she said.
Dr. Zanotti said it’s also important to talk about your family history at routine checkups, so your physician knows about any health issues you may be at risk for.