(CNN) – When and how often a woman should visit their gynecologist is often a source of confusion.
Dr. Sujatha Reddy, gynecologist at Premier Care For Women, believes there is at least one aspect of women’s health care that needs to be better explained.
Reddy says, “For a long time women knew they had to come to the gynecologist for a pap smear once a year, but as the pap smear has gotten better and more accurate, especially if you add onto it HPV testing, you can actually stretch out how long you can go between pap smears.”
Just how long depends, but most women can go about three years between pap smears. However, a visit to your obgyn, or an annual woman’s check up, isn’t just about getting a pap smear. Reddy says, “Beyond that we also will do a height blood pressure, weight to calculate your body mass index, often we do a breast exam if you’re in that age category, and decide what other screening tests you need based on your age and your medical history.”
There’s one group of women that Dr. Reddy strongly encourages to make that yearly visit. “Especially if you are a young woman; very often they don’t have a primary care doctor, if they don’t come to the gynecologist, they just don’t go to the doctor and they might miss preventative checks.”