"Yes. After undergoing a hysterectomy, you should continue seeing your gynecologist for an annual well-woman exam, which includes a pelvic exam," says Yasmin Engineer, M.D., a board-certified specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
Dr. Engineer says that well-woman exams, performed in a doctor's office, remain an important part of a woman's overall health routine even as she matures.
"It entails a pelvic and breast exam, as well as screening for osteoporosis, and, when relevant, management of menopause and bladder symptoms," she says. "A referral to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy may also be advised."
She says that pelvic exams allow the gynecologist to screen for evidence of vaginal and vulvar cancers.
"The pelvic exam may also include Pap smear testing, a simple, non-painful procedure where a sample of cells are gently brushed from the cervix and examined for abnormalities," she adds.
Pap screening may be discontinued for women who have had a total hysterectomy - the complete removal of the cervix along with the uterus - for noncancerous reasons, as long as they have no history of abnormal Pap smears.
"Continuing with your annual well-woman exams is a great way to help care for your health after menopause or a hysterectomy," concludes Dr. Engineer, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold's Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center in Sugar Land.