For many women, their annual gynecologic appointments are the only time they see a physician throughout the year. In these cases, their gynecologist functions as their primary care provider, and plays an important part in maintaining their overall health and wellness. For women, an annual physical is an opportunity to discuss contraception, intimacy and sexual health, as well as any other wellness questions you have regarding topics such as such as weight, exercise, blood pressure and more. Because of the intimate nature of these appointments, it can also be a comfortable space to discuss and seek treatment for anxiety and depression or other conditions that you nay otherwise feel less comfortable discussing.
Your provider will also administer other important screenings to help prevent illness. Preventative screenings play a vital role in maintaining overall wellness, especially for women. Starting at age 21, women are supposed to begin getting regular pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. While the recommendation for frequency of pap smear screenings varies based on individual health history and age, women are still recommended to get yearly gynecological exams. Your physician will also make sure you are screened for breast cancer and colon cancer when the time comes. It is important for women to discuss their personal and family health history with their doctor, as this may factor into the age at which the screenings should begin, and how frequently they should occur. Gynecologists also check and help keep patients up to date on vaccinations and immunizations.
Most importantly, women need to establish a relationship with a provider they can trust and speak openly with about necessary health screenings and any changes they are experiencing within their bodies. While they may not treat every condition they screen for, your gynecologist will be monitoring your health and can refer you to another physician if necessary. Our community is fortunate, as Cone Health has an exceptional network of specialists and women’s health experts that are dedicated to caring for and ensuring optimal health for their patients.
Dr. Jill Jertson is a gynecologist with Greensboro Women’s Health Care and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Jertson received a Bachelor of Science from State University of New York at Stony Brook. She completed medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Jertson completed her OB/GYN Residency at the University of Vermont Medical Center.