Women come in all shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common: they must protect their health with the right kind of preventative care. OB-GYN doctors are there to help women maintain their reproductive health through all stages of life. Here are four reasons to attend your annual women's health exam each and every year: 

1. Get The All-Clear To Conceive

Many women choose to have children when they're ready. Before you start trying to conceive, it's a good idea to visit your gynecologist for your annual wellness exam. Your regular pelvic exam can give you important information about your fertility. If you're struggling to conceive, your gynecologist can help you figure out if there's an underlying reason. Medical conditions, such as uterine fibroids and PCOS, can be detected through simple tests in your gynecologist's office. Treating these medical conditions before you start trying for a baby can give you the best chance at a fast and easy conception.

2. Adjust Your Birth Control Method

Birth control can help women avoid pregnancy when they do not wish to have a child. Many people choose pharmaceutical contraceptives prescribed by their gynecologists. Your annual women's health checkup is the perfect time to address any dissatisfaction you have with your current method of birth control. Some types of birth control cause side effects, such as decreased libido or weight gain. Your gynecologist can help you switch to a new form of birth control to help you avoid side effects while still getting the benefits you need.

3. Handle Painful Periods

Most women experience some discomfort during their menstrual periods. However, your period should not be excessively painful. Unfortunately, many women struggle with PMS symptoms, cramps, and even excessive bleeding. During an annual exam, your gynecologist can help you get to the bottom of your painful periods. Many women find relief from painful period symptoms by starting hormonal birth control. Occasionally, excessively heavy, painful periods are caused by a condition known as endometriosis, which causes the endometrial lining to grow outside of the uterus. Surgical treatments can treat endometriosis to help women experience less pain each month.

4. Detect Dangerous Cancers

Finally, it's important to attend your annual women's health exam to help your doctor detect and prevent cancer. Women are susceptible to breast cancer and cervical cancer. Certain things can elevate your risk of developing these cancers, such as a family history of cancer and certain types of HPV diagnoses. Gynecologists perform manual breast exams, mammograms, and pap smears to catch cancers and precancers as early as possible.

Contact a local gynecologist to learn more about annual women's health exams.