Take charge of your health gynecological health as you age

By Susan Parisi, MD  |  9/6/2018

As you age, your body experiences a variety of changes. Dr. Susan Parisi, a gynecologist with Sharon Hospital Medical Practice, discusses common gynecological health concerns and questions for women.

Q1: Why do I need an annual women's health checkup?

A: An annual checkup helps you understand your state of health and medical concerns. Disease detection and prevention allow us to track your health over time and address concerns that come up in between visits, while education about topics from fertility to menopause can help address various conditions before they arise.  For example, the latest screening recommendations for pap smears and mammograms have changed throughout the years.

Q2: What are some common gynecologic problems women experience? 

A: Issues range from general menstrual issues, hormonal concerns, endometriosis, vaginal infections, breast concerns, ovarian cysts, urinary incontinence and fibroids, a noncancerous growth in the uterus.

Q3: What health risks increase during perimenopause and menopause? 

A: During perimenopause and menopause, women are at a higher risk for certain cancers, such as breast and ovarian. Others include irregular bleeding, depression and anxiety, vaginal dryness and discomfort. After menopause, women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis because estrogen, the female hormone that protects bones, declines and can lead to bone loss.

Q4: What special concerns can be discussed with your gynecologist?

A: Gynecologists help women navigate through the changes their bodies undergo throughout their lifetimes, from adolescence to the post-menopausal period.  We are here to discuss concerns, from sexuality, birth control and family planning counseling, to menopause in a nonjudgmental, safe and confidential environment.

Q5: What can women do to stay healthy after menopause?

A: Take charge of your health by exercising and eating nutritious food. I suggest patients strive to maintain a healthy weight, decrease stress levels, and begin to use supplements such as vitamin D and calcium. These can help combat conditions such as osteoporosis, maintain strength and replenish nutrients you may not regularly consume enough.

Q6: Is there anything else that can help women stay healthy?

A: A patient-centered approach such as integrative medicine, which embraces concerns in the context of not only the body, but also life, mind and spirit, can help women address medical concerns in a comprehensive manner.  It also helps me better understand their ailments and why they experience them. Maybe it's stress in their life or a combination of internal and external factors. Regardless, this multidisciplinary approach allows me to learn more about my patients and how I can help them improve their health based on their daily routines and activities.

Dr. Susan Parisi is a gynecologist with Sharon Hospital Medical Practice's Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She earned her medical degree from New York Medical College, completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Buffalo, and her fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona. To schedule an appointment, call her office at 860-364-5020 (TTY: 1-800-421-1220).