Across the world, women tend to live longer, healthier lives than men. The actual reason for this is still a mystery. Several factors have been suggested, including healthier lifestyle choices (less drinking/smoking) and lower testosterone levels (less risk-taking behavior).

Despite these advantages, women also face some unique health risks of their own. Breast cancer, cervical cancer, the struggles of periods, and menopause are all unique to women. Then there can also be the toll on the female body from pregnancy and childbirth.

This is why medical science has an entire department dedicated to women’s health – gynecology. At VNA Health, we have expert gynecologists and OB-GYN specialists to provide high-quality healthcare services to women of all ages. You can look forward to the following services at VNA:

Gynecology

Gynecologists are doctors trained in treating diseases and disorders related to the reproductive system in women. This includes any issues with the major female organs – the breasts, the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.

Apart from treating illness, gynecologists also conduct checkups and screening tests to detect early signs of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other deadly diseases.

On the topic of pregnancies, a gynecologist can also provide special gynecology care and assistance during childbirth. These types of specialists are called obstetrician-gynecologists, or OB-GYNs for short. Many women between the ages of 18 and 45 use an OB-GYN as their main healthcare specialist.

Here are some possible reasons to consult a gynecologist or Family Practice provider at VNA Health Care:

  • For your annual well-woman exam
  • Any discomfort or pain in the lower belly
  • Issues related to your periods
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge from the vagina

Women’s Health Services and Procedures

You can expect the following services and treatment options when you schedule an appointment with our women’s health specialists at VNA Health Care.

Mammograms

A mammogram is a special x-ray of the breast used to check for signs of cancer. Some forms of breast cancer take years to reach the stage where you can see or feel lumps in your breast. A mammogram can often find such cancers 3 years in advance.

Women in the United States have a 1 in 8 chance of catching this potentially deadly disease at some point in their life, usually after the age of 45. Annual mammograms are a vital defense against breast cancer. You can read more about mammography in our in-depth guide.

Pelvic Exams

Along with mammograms, this is yet another crucial component of an annual well-woman exam. Pelvic exams include internal and external check-ups of the vagina, uterus, and cervix. Doctors look for physical signs of sexually transmitted diseases, and to assess overall gynecological health.

Pelvic exams may also include a special procedure called the Pap test. It involves collecting samples from inside the uterus. The samples are then tested for signs of cervical cancer – a deadly disease if left undiscovered and untreated for long.

Why Preventive Healthcare is Important for Women

Diseases like cancer have different stages. In the later stages, treatment is harder, more expensive, and comes with a lower chance of success. Prevention is always the wiser option when it comes to deadly diseases like breast cancer and cervical cancer.

Annual visits to a gynecologist can significantly improve your reproductive health and help detect signs of cancer. A wellness visit, or well-woman exam, is a total package that looks at all aspects of a woman’s health.

Ideally, you should have well-woman visits at least once per year. Apart from catching diseases in the earlier stages, these visits also help give you more insights into your body. Women experience drastic changes to their reproductive system over the years.

Well-woman visits give you a chance to talk to your doctor about any changes and seek guidance on how to best cope with them. Your healthcare Provider also uses these visits to give advice on appropriate lifestyle changes which can further improve your long-term health.

In addition to preventive care, today’s women should have access to affordable comprehensive care for their health and well being. This should include medical exams using latest technology, in office procedures from trained providers, and exceptional care from their initial appointment to treatment and support during recovery.

Women’s Health and Insurance Coverage

In recent years, access to women’s healthcare services has become easier than ever. For instance, the Affordable Care Act makes it mandatory for insurance plans to include full coverage for “necessary preventive services.”

Mammograms, Pap smears, and annual wellness exams are all included in this category. It doesn’t matter if you have Medicare, Medicaid, or any private insurance plan. They all include fully paid cover for many women’s health services.

Even if you don’t have insurance, there is good news. Federal and state-level programs that provide the uninsured with free mammograms, wellness check-ups, and prenatal care do exist. VNA Health Care is a lead agency for one such program – the Illinois Breast And Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP).

VNA and IBCCP for Women’s Health

Uninsured or under-insured women belonging to low-income groups can receive the following services free of cost at VNA Health Care – breast and pelvic exams, Pap tests, and mammograms. Under the IBCCP, VNA offers these services to eligible women from the following locations in the Chicago metropolitan area: DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Kankakee, and Will counties.

VNA is a not-for-profit organization committed to delivering high-quality health care services to historically under-served communities at low cost. To access our women’s health services, schedule an appointment online today.

Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program

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