May is certainly the month of mommies. And in that spirit, it’s time for a little mom self-care advice to all those mommies out there. It’s easy to put yourself and your health on the back burner in life to better be available for your family, but it’s the worst thing you can do for yourself. Putting yourself and your health first will let you better take care of your family and be the best mother and partner you can be. And to take the best care of yourself, there are 5 doctors every woman needs to see each and every year, without fail.
Additionally, to help, I’ve compiled a list for you and also made a printable tracker for you to keep to know when your last appointments were and when your next appointments are due. It’s blank, so you can also use it for your entire family to help you track medical appointments.
I’m not a doctor. I have no medical training of any kind. This is just the simply smart and sensical list of doctors you should be seeing, at a minimum, each year to make sure you are keeping on top of your health and wellness.
#1 – Primary Care Physician/Family Doctor
First, you should be seeing your primary care doctor every year for a physical. Chances are, this is the doctor you see whenever you are feeling sick or if something is off. Your family doctor is usually where everyone starts when they have an issue, and then the family doctor will refer out anything additional that is needed.
Each year you should have a physical, complete with bloodwork that includes your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They will also check your blood pressure and look for anything else abnormal to address. If you are having any issues, it’s a great time to mention that and they can either help or redirect you to the type of doctor you do need to see for that particular ailment.
It’s best to have an established primary care physician if possible. One that has your medical records and knows your medical history. You can always request that your records be forwarded to a new doctor’s office if you move, or if you simply change doctors.
This is also most likely the physician that will manage any prescriptions you may have for day to day issues. And most primary care physicians will require you to come in every six months to one year to ensure you still need those prescriptions and that the doses are still correct for you.
#2 – Your OB/GYN
I cannot say this enough. See your OB/GYN every single year. Without fail. There are WAY too many working parts in the female reproductive system to let anything go and neglect. You must do this for yourself every year. I get it, it’s no fun. No woman is looking forward to a pelvic exam. It’s not the most comfortable thing.
But having your pelvic exam and pap smears done each year is super important to your female health. Make sure you take care of that business.
Don’t ever be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about your female health either. They have literally seen it all and you aren’t going to shock them. YOU are their best detective to stay on top of your health. If you feel like something is off, they need to know.
For example(s), if your cramps are different/worse/changing with your periods, they need to know. If you have pain during sex, they need to know. If you have different discharge, smell, change in period pattern, abdominal tenderness, etc, they need to know. Sometimes small things can lead to big things. It’s important to speak openly and honestly with your doctor. They can’t help you if they don’t know you have an issue.
#3 – Dermatologist
In this day and age, you should see a dermatologist for a full-body scan to get a baseline of how often you SHOULD see the dermatologist. I’d say at least once a year you should be seen. I go twice a year. I’ve got rosacea on my face, plus I’ve had a few biopsies come back as warning signs for skin cancer over the years, so it’s necessary to get checked well on a regular basis. And on top of all that, I’m a fair-skinned, super freckled person. So, my skin is pretty sensitive anyway. Best to get it checked!
When I go for my full body scan, just like the family doctor and the gyno, you get naked, they literally check you from head to toe, check out any suspicious spots with a special lens, and biopsy anything of concern. It takes 20-30 minutes. Easy peasy.
#4 – Eye Doctor
You should see your eye doctor every year. It’s your vision. It’s crazy important. I have contacts and glasses, and in the not so distant future, probably reading glasses. It’s important to keep up with your eye health and make sure you don’t have any other conditions popping up.
And most especially if you have glasses or contacts, usually the eye doctor won’t give you a new prescription after a year has passed. You’ll have to go in and see them so they can examine you once per year.
They check your vision, check your prescriptions, and then also check on your eye health. They look for scratches, irritation, cataracts, plus other conditions that could affect eyesight.
#5 – Dentist
Lastly, you should see your dentist at least once a year. Most people go twice a year. You need a check-up at least once a year to make sure you don’t have cavities or gum disease or any other issues. Plus your teeth need to be cleaned by someone that knows exactly how to clean them at a minimum of once per year.
Plus One More… a Psychiatrist/Psychologist/Licensed Social Worker
This is the doctor that no one really talks about having in their arsenal of medical professionals. But I think it’s probably one of the most important doctors to have at your disposal.
This is a medical doctor that specializes in mental health. This would likely be the doctor that would be prescribing any kind of drug regarding your mental status, including antidepressants and anxiety medicines. How often you would see your psychiatrist would totally depend on what kind of medicines you are taking, how long you’ve been taking them, and if you are on a well-established maintenance dose of a medicine or if you are still calibrating the correct dose of medicines you may need. A psychiatrist will generally specialize in the medication portion of your mental health. For actual therapy where you talk to a person, that’s generally a psychologist or licensed social worker.
Psychologist/Licensed Social Worker/Counselor
If you feel like you need to talk to someone about any problems you are having, it’s always a wonderful idea to see a mental health counselor of some kind. There are counselors that specialize in all kinds of traumas and specialties and you can pick one based on the issues you are having compared to the specialties they treat.
For example, if you have an eating disorder, there are therapists that specialize in that arena. If you have general life anxiety or parenting worries, a family counselor might bet a better fit. There are therapists that only see women for women related issues. You name it, there is probably a therapist of some kind for it. Find your fit and go.
There should be no shame or embarrassment to go see any kind of mental health professional. Ever. If you need help, get it. I always say, if your stomach hurts, you go to the doctor. If you break your leg, you go to the doctor. Mental issues are no different.
And no issue is too small to go see a therapist. It can be as simple as you are worried about everything and need some help sorting through the noise of life. I am a HUGE advocate for people seeing therapists. I wish it were mandatory for people to see a therapist a few times a year. There is a lot of power and strength in seeing someone to try and get your issues sorted out and I commend people that take the time to do this.
There are a few annual tests that you must have each year, especially once you reach a certain age.
I’m coming up on 40, so that means I’ll be starting a yearly mammogram this upcoming year. And while it does not really sound like any fun whatsoever, it’s extremely important to take care of that each year. Early screening can lead to the extremely early discovery of any issues you may have to address.
I think different doctors have different opinions on how often women need a pap smear. If you have any irregular pap smears in the past, it’s important to have yourself checked regularly.
And if for some reason your insurance isn’t going to pay for it, and you feel strongly that you need a pap smear sooner than every 3 years, you could always pay out of pocket for one if needed.
Each year (or maybe even more frequently!), blood tests should be performed (Usually by your primary care physician) to monitor your enzymes, minerals, vitamins, cholesterol, thyroid function, blood sugar, etc.
Blood Pressure Screening
You should be having your blood pressure checked a few times a year at least. Especially if you have high blood pressure issues and take medication for high blood pressure. High blood pressure is dangerous and very bad for your heart.
Family History Screenings
If you have a tremendous family history of any certain condition it’s important to let your doctor know so that they can monitor your conditions more closely in those areas. Any family history of cancer or any neurological disorders is very important to follow and watch.
For example, you wouldn’t generally need to have a colonoscopy until you are 50. But I’ve got a TON of colon cancer in both sides of my family, so I’ve had a colonoscopy a year ago and will have one every 5 years at minimum for the rest of my life.
I want to give a LARGE note here about the possibility of changing doctors. You should never, ever be the least bit apprehensive about changing doctors. If you don’t think you are being cared for properly, if you don’t like the office that you are going to for your care or if you flat out don’t like your doctor, then it’s time to make a change.
Your doctor is the person that will monitor your health and you are literally putting your life into their hands. So if it’s not a good fit, FIND a good fit. For example, recently, our beloved primary care doctor of 20+ years retired. And the practice hired a new doctor to take his place, and all the retired doctor’s patients were redirected to the new doctor. Which is fine, in theory.
My New Doctor:
But for me and new doctor? We were NOT a match. I gave it three visits over the course of a few months and called and requested to change doctors within the practice. I was able to do so with no issues. But if it had been an issue, I was prepared to leave the practice altogether and find a new doctor that I was comfortable with and liked. This is the person you are entrusting your healthcare to, so it is VITAL that you like him or her. Or at the very least have a good amount of confidence in them.
If you want a woman doctor… find a woman doctor:
And for the love of mike, if you are more comfortable with a woman doctor, ESPECIALLY for your OB/GYN, do NOT hesitate to simply say that. And find the doctor that’s right for you. It is MORE than fair to want a doctor that has the possibility to empathize with you. If you don’t want a man talking to you about how to manage monthly menstrual cramps or endometriosis, find a woman doctor.
A quick note about your weight… Your weight is SO important. It affects your heart health, your mental health, your bone, and joint health, and the list goes on and on. If you are like me and are overweight, it’s time to get hold of that and get yourself in good shape at a reasonable weight. Being overweight makes your entire body work harder than it should just to function.
I know it’s not easy. I’m in the same boat, I’ve been overweight my entire life. But I’m working on it and making sure I can set a good example for my children going forward. I’m approaching a milestone birthday and I want to make sure I’m giving myself the best leg up I can to good health in my next decades to come!
Work with your doctor before you start any kind of diet or exercise program to make sure you are up for the challenge. And your doctor may also have advice or ideas for you to try as well.
If you want to calculate where you should be for weight and calories, try this calculator on Precision Nutrition’s website.
Recommended Items For Health Tracking and Inspiration:
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from those links, I may make a small commission. See our full Disclosure and Disclaimer Policy here.
- Fitbit Inspire – Tracks your steps, calories and heart rate
- Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff
- Women’s Health Magazine
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
Wrap Up – The 5 Doctors Every Woman Needs to See
I hope this list of the 5 doctors every woman needs to see helps you. I really hope it motivates you to make some appointments if you have let some of these appointments lapse for yourself. Your health is vitally important and must be looked after all the time. You can’t take great care of your family if you aren’t taking great care of yourself. And you must teach your kids to take good care of themselves by being a great example of HOW to take good care of yourself. I hope this helps! And as always… just keep shuffling!
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