From before puberty to after menopause, a woman's body is constantly changing and developing. And, at each stage of development and maturation, she may have questions about gynecological, reproductive, and sexual health. Thus, it is important that a woman establishes a partnership with her health care provider -- often an OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), certified nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner -- early on.
Health care providers who specialize in general women's medical care, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system, and care of pregnant women, include obstetricians/gynecologists, who are physicians, and certified nurse midwives and women's health nurse practitioners, who are nurses with advanced education. It is generally recommended that women who are either older than 18 years of age and/or are sexually active, or those who experience gynecological symptoms, have an annual gynecological exam.
Many of the conditions that affect gynecological, reproductive, and sexual health may be detected early, which, in most cases, provides for a more positive prognosis and successful treatment.