A routine gynecology exam is essential for your overall health. The primary purpose of the fast and straightforward process is to detect reproductive system anomalies. The physical screening may take as little as ten minutes. Dr. Wanda Torres from Suncoast Women’s Care is always glad to answer questions on reproductive health and wellness.
When to take a gynecology exam
Women should schedule their first gynecology exam between ages 18 and 21 or when sexually active. If you are nervous or in doubt, consider informing your provider that this is your first appointment. Gynecology specialists understand the anxiety women experience. They will apply various proven strategies to keep you comfortable and at ease.
Feeling anxious is a normal reaction, especially for first-time patients. But don’t let your fear stop you from visiting the gynecologist. Consider scheduling an appointment with a specialist, if you have gynecological symptoms like vaginal discharge and menstrual irregularities.
By detecting the onset of the disease, a gynecology exam can limit the illness’s progression. Your healthcare provider can develop minimally-invasive treatments to restore your wellness.
How to prepare for the exam
Adequate preparation makes patients less anxious during their appointment. You may want to request a family member or friend to accompany you if it is your first time.
You are required to abstain from sexual intercourse and avoid using vaginal creams 24 hours before the exam. Inform your provider of any medication you are taking before the appointment. You may have to reschedule the visit if your periods coincide with the exam.
What to expect during the exam
Your gynecology exam is similar to a typical healthcare consultation. It starts with a review of your medical and family history. Your provider will also consider your prescriptions when developing the diagnosis.
The wellness assessment includes multiple steps, starting with a physical exam. Your provider will discuss symptoms and check your lungs, heart, and blood circulation. If necessary, the gynecologist takes blood and urine samples for further tests.
A breast exam is a standard check for symptoms of breast cancer. The process evaluates abnormal signs like lumps and bumps in your chest. Your provider may also look for rashes or dimpling on your skin.
Pelvic and pap smear exam
A pelvic exam checks for vaginal discharge, redness, or irritation. It is critical since it can detect the onset of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and cancerous growths.
The procedure also checks the size and position of the ovaries. Gynecologists recommend annual pelvic exams for women over 21 years. But younger women may still require a pelvic screening if they experience vaginal discharge or menstrual problems.
Every year, more than 14,000 women are diagnosed with extensive cervical cancer. Therefore, a pap smear is one of the crucial gynecological exams that detect emerging cancer symptoms.
A pap smear involves scrapping the vaginal walls to extract tissue samples to send to the lab. You should take a pap smear if you have a condition that weakens your immune system or you regularly smoke. Women over 21 or sexually active ought to have a pap smear every other year.
Contact Suncoast Women’s Care to schedule a wellness exam appointment today.