As women, our genital anatomy changes every decade. For example, estrogen drops with age causing skin and tissue in the vaginal area to become more fragile. That’s only one reason why it’s important for women in their 40s to choose the right gynecologist.
It’s imperative for women of this age to have regular exams and Pap tests in order to not miss early signs and symptoms of certain diseases that can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. For many women, it also marks the onset of menopause so finding a doctor who is both well-informed and willing to try different options is a must.
One of the best ways to find a gynecologist is through referrals. Ask other physicians and friends. Schedule introductory visits with several doctors until you find the one who’s right for you. This is a good way to get a sense of the doctor's practice style and attitude.
Like with all patients, gynecologists take medical, family and obstetric histories of over-40 women. He or she will also want basic information about your sex life and what kind of contraception you may be using. Another important topic they should bring up: menstrual irregularities. This can be the sign of approaching menopause or another health problem.
Be sure to ask questions. Are you concerned about hormone replacement therapy (HRT)? Ask the doctor about his or her opinion. A good gynecologist will take into account not only a patient's medical history, but her concerns about what treatment is right for her.
If sex is important to you, bring that up as well. It’s important to share any sexual problems with the doctor. Vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and low libido are common sexual symptoms of menopause. A conscientious gynecologist will offer suggestions and solutions.
If the doctor imposes his or her own beliefs instead of offering professional medical advice, consider renewing your search. Also, you don’t want a doctor who is too busy to listen to you or isn't sincere about your apprehensions. Rather, your doctor should answer any questions you ask in a thoughtful manner that leaves you feeling comfortable and knowledgeable.