When is it time to see a gynecologist?

Maggi Forgue, DO

Mercy Health Physician Partners OB/GYN

Mercy Health’s team of expert OB/GYNs meet the changing needs of women from adolescence to mature adulthood. We provide specialized care, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for every woman at every stage of her life.

  1. What services does an OB/GN typically provide?

Our services include:

  • Routine well woman care
  • Pelvic Medicine
  • Abnormal pap smear evaluation and treatment
  • Hormonal problems, including perimenopause and menopause
  • Natural Family Planning
  • Urinary incontinence treatment
  • Endometriosis diagnosis and treatment
  • Chronic pelvic pain diagnosis and treatment
  • Laparoscopic gynecologic surgeries
  • Infertility evaluation
  • Diagnosis and treatment of breast conditions and disorders
  • Correction of bladder and rectal prolapse
  • Surgical services such as colposcopy, and in-office endometrial ablations
  • Ovarian cyst management

OB/GYNs also deliver babies and can perform caesarean sections.

  1. At what age should a woman first see an OB/GYN? We encourage patients to come see us when they are ready and feel comfortable doing so. We serve women from their teens into their 80s and 90s.
  2. At what age should a woman first have a pelvic exam? It is recommended to have a pelvic exam annually beginning at age 21, or sooner if you are sexually active.
  3. At what age should a woman have her first a pap smear? The newest recommendations is to have a pap smear the age of 21, whether sexually active or not, and every third year following, if the test results are normal.
  4. Can a primary care physician (PCP) do a pelvic exam and pap smear? PCPs, such as Internal Medicine specialists and Family Practice physicians, often perform these exams and tests.
  5. When should you have your annual exam completed by an OB/GYN rather than a PCP? Patients can choose who they see for annual exams. Many women who are considering pregnancy in the near future choose to see us. Following a pregnancy, patients will frequently come to us for their yearly exams. We make sure our patients understand that if anything abnormal comes up on routine screening, we will send them back to their PCP for management. If they have co-morbidities, they should make sure to see us and their PCP.
  6. What can a woman expect at her first appointment with an OB/GYN? Some women are anxious about their first appointment with an OB/GYN, so it is important to know thatyou do not have to be examined at a first meeting. You may prefer to have a general discussion about the female reproductive system or a consultation about a specific issue. If you are anxious about your first exam, we would encourage you to ask questions about how the exam is performed and why it is necessary. Then schedule an appointment when you are ready to have the exam. For support, some women ask a loved one attend the exam. Other patients prefer to visit alone for a private visit.
  7. Are a pelvic exam and pap smear usually covered by medical insurance? What if during the exam a problem is discovered? Pap smears are a covered screening by insurance companies. If a problem is discovered, we will make sure we make an appropriate plan of care with you that you are comfortable with. This would also be covered by insurance.
  8. At what age should a woman have her first mammogram? The answer depends on your risk factors, which include your personal and family health history. We recommend that you have a discussion with provider about risk factors before determining when to schedule a first mammogram. Typically, a woman’s first mammogram is between ages 40 and 50, and then annually or every other year thereafter.
  9. How would a woman know if she is beginning menopause? Menopause transition is unique for each woman. The average age of menopause is age 51 but women can experience symptoms earlier, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. We are here to help women navigate that transition using both medical and natural remedies.

Mercy Health Physician Partners OB/GYN has nine locations in West Michigan. For more information or to request an appointment with a Mercy Health OB/GYN provider, go to mercyhealth.com/gyn.

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