Many people have felt like preventative healthcare is risky during the COVID-19 pandemic because it puts them in a doctor’s office around more sick people — people who could potentially have or spread COVID to them.
However, attending your annual well-woman care checkup is just as (if not more) important during a pandemic.
Survey finds fewer women are going to the doctor
A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported on the number of women who saw their OB/GYN in 2020. The survey (not so surprisingly) found that there was a significant decrease in that number since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March.
In fact, 54 percent of gynecologists around the U.S. reported a decrease in patient visits.
Another interesting finding in the survey was that the majority of gynecologists feel that women who have gynecological conditions have been a lot harder to treat and keep track of during the pandemic. Again, this is mostly due to the fact that many women have been too concerned to go to the doctor if they aren’t having serious health issues.
One good thing the survey found was that the number of women’s doctors doing telemedicine visits has drastically increased. This option gives women who are able to address their issues over video the ability to do so without having to physically go to the doctor. The problem is that many women’s health concerns and conditions cannot be adequately diagnosed or treated with telemedicine.
Importance of preventative healthcare
Preventative healthcare is one of the most vitally important pieces of maintaining good health and should not be ignored. The risks of ignoring mild symptoms could end up being worse than you might think.
Dr. Maria Sophocles, an OB/GYN in Princeton, NJ, told CNN that she had a 61-year-old patient with endometrial cancer who ignored minor symptoms for 7 months before coming in to see her. The woman had no idea she had cancer and figured it was nothing major, but because of her hesitancy to go to the doctor, she found herself 7 months further into her cancer progression.
Visit your women’s doctor for your well-woman exam
Even in the midst of a pandemic, your overall health should be a top priority.
Most doctor’s offices are working as hard as they can to minimize the spread of germs and limit close contact. If you’re due for an annual wellness checkup, or you’re experiencing new symptoms (no matter how mild), make an appointment to see your gynecologist right away. Don’t risk waiting and allowing a potential health issue to progress.