Annual gynecological examination is an essential part of preventive healthcare, which facilitates the maintenance of your overall well-being. Unfortunately, most women miss the yearly check-ups with their specialists, which cost thousands of lives each year. A visit to your gynecologist is necessary whether or not you have signs and symptoms for a medical problem. The following are examples of in-office procedures in Lake Mary that your specialist may use during an annual gynecological examination.
A Pap test
A Pap smear is a test that involves obtaining cells from your cervix to test for cervical cancer and detect any changes or abnormalities in the cells. It is usually the first step in stopping the possible development of cancer cells in the cervix. Your gynecologist combines a Pap test with a pelvic examination in most cases. You may experience slight discomfort when the doctor takes cervical cell samples, but no pain is involved. Specialists recommend Pap smear for women of 21 years and older at least every three years.
However, you may need more Pap tests if you have certain risk factors such as HIV infection, a history of smoking, or undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy that weaken your immune system.
A mammogram is an x-ray of your breasts which your doctor can use if you don’t have any signs and symptoms to detect any tissue changes or abnormalities. The goal of a screening mammogram is to detect cancer during its onset stages when treatment may be cheaper and less invasive. Women with symptoms such as a lump in the breasts, nipple discharge, and changes in skin appearance need a mammogram for diagnostic purposes. If something abnormal is detected, you may need further testing, such as a biopsy for close examination.
It is a test that your gynecologist uses to examine the vagina and cervix to detect any abnormalities or signs of disease. A colposcopy is often used after a Pap smear shows the presence of precancerous cells in your cervix, vulva, and vagina. Your doctor may also recommend this procedure if you have other signs like genital warts. A colposcope works similar to a microscope and enlarges or magnifies the cells in your cervix and vagina.
During treatment, the colposcope is situated inches away from your vagina and the vulva, and the doctor shines light into your vagina for visibility purposes. You may need a cervical or vaginal biopsy upon detection of suspicious cells.
Contraceptive implant placement
A birth control implant is one of the most effective and convenient contraceptives as it prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years. Your doctor uses an applicator to insert the implant and inject a local anesthetic before placement. After placement, expect side effects such as bruising, pain, and bleeding, which improve after several hours. The good news is your specialist can remove the implant earlier in case of a change in your personal decisions.
You should be conscientious about getting your annual gynecological tests to detect current problems and assess risk factors for new problems that could develop. Schedule an appointment for your annual gynecological exam with your specialist at Christopher K Quinsey, MD.