Gynecology exams are critical for women of all ages because they include special assessments aimed at evaluating a woman's special health needs as she gets older and passes through different stages of life. By having routine gynecology exams, a woman's health can be optimized depending on the specific health issue's she's facing. Plus, gynecology exams can help identify subtle signs of diseases in their earliest stages so they can be appropriately and promptly treated, and they also ensure women receive the health screenings and lifestyle guidance they need based on their individual risk factors.
A routine gynecology exam begins with a personal and family medical history to look for potential risk factors for diseases, followed by measurements of weight and blood pressure. Patients are also asked about their lifestyle habits and any symptoms they may be experiencing, as well as any medications or supplements they may be taking. During the exam, the doctor listens to the heart and lungs and palpates (gently presses) the belly to look for areas of tenderness. A clinical breast exam will also be performed, and a pelvic exam with a Pap test or HPV test may also be performed. During the pelvic exam, a lubricated instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina and used to gently widen the vaginal canal so the interior of the vagina and the cervix (the opening of the uterus) can be visually evaluated and a Pap test can be performed. The exam is painless and takes just a few minutes.
A Pap test is a medical screening test that uses a long-handled swab to remove some cells from the surface of the cervix. The cells are then examined under a microscope to look for abnormalities that could indicate the presence of cancer or other medical issues like infections. Pap tests are usually performed once every three years for women between the ages of 21 and 64. After age 64, they may be performed less frequently.
*Individual Results May Vary