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Why Senior Women Should See a Gynecologist

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Despite the fact that women advance beyond their reproductive years, they should continue visiting their gynecologists. The risk of developing an infection or a disease process does not stop because a woman reaches the age of menopause or becomes a senior citizen. In fact, caregivers from Sonoma County at-home care agencies advise families to encourage senior women to see gynecologists. Read on to learn why.

Necessity of Pelvic Exams

In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force declared that it was no longer necessary for women over the age of 65 to have pap smears. However, physicians agree that older women should continue receiving annual gynecological examinations. Pelvic exams remain necessary because the risk of developing cancer increases as women age. 

Human Papilloma Virus

Older women who are divorced or widowed may eventually develop another intimate relationship. Sexually active senior women are not immune from getting sexually transmitted diseases, which include the human papillomavirus or HPV. As HPV has been linked with an increased risk of cervical cancer, sexually active women over the age of 65 should consider acquiring annual HPV and Pap tests. 

Intimacy Issues

Diminished estrogen production combined with a lack of sexual relations for a number of years causes vaginal tissue shrinkage. When a woman once again has an intimate relationship, she may experience discomfort or vaginal tearing. Gynecological visits help women have healthy sex lives by recommending creams, lubricants and devices that protect the vagina while alleviating dryness and discomfort during intercourse. 

Abnormal Symptoms

If an older woman experiences breakthrough bleeding, unusual bloating, fullness in the lower abdomen or bowel changes, the symptoms should be brought to the attention of a gynecologist. Senior women remain susceptible to developing ovarian or uterine cancers. The earlier a malignancy is detected, the more successful the treatment will be.

Aside from the possibility of having cancer, pelvic organ prolapse remains one of the most common issues that older women experience. The condition involves the bladder, rectum or uterus, falling into the vaginal region secondary to muscular weakness. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, surgical intervention is generally recommended. 

It’s important for seniors to keep up on medical appointments, but sometimes they can’t drive alone. Home Care Assistance caregivers are always available to transport seniors to and from medical appointments and assist with daily tasks around the house. We also provide specialized Sonoma County Alzheimer’s and dementia care for seniors with more specific needs. Call (707) 843.4368 today to schedule a free in-home consultation with a trusted Care Manager.