What Is A Routine Gynecological Examination
Every woman should visit a gynecologist on a regular basis. Our health depends on a good gynecological examination. However, many young women feel afraid of such consultations as they do not know what kind of examinations or tests will take place, or they feel ashamed to show their private parts to a doctor. At OneHowTo, we recommend a consultation with your gynecologist once a year, so to lessen your fears we explain what a routine gynecological examination is.
This is the most basic gynecological examination for all women. It examines the condition of the external vaginal area, cervix, uterus and ovaries.
To undertake the examination, the gynecologist puts on some latex gloves and with the help of a speculum, examines the outside of the vagina, including the labia for any signs of damage. They then insert two fingers into the vagina to assess the state of the cervix, uterus and ovaries.
If they feel any abnormalities, they may recommend further tests.
Papanicolaou (PAP) or smear test
A Pap test is sometimes also known as a Vaginal Cytology and is a basic gynecological examination that is performed once a year after a woman becomes sexually active. It serves to prematurely detect cervical cancer, as well as the HPV human papilloma virus.
It is a painless test that is performed during a gynecological examination. A sample of cervical cells is taken to be analysed in a laboratory. If an abnormal result is obtained, further tests will be carried out.
Breast screening test or mammography
A gynecologist may perform an external breast examination, in order to detect any lumps or abnormalities in the area. This is a very similar procedure to breast self-examination which women should do at home to rule out any breast abnormalities.
A mammography is the most basic type of examination in order to detect the presence of any lumps, tumors or breast cancer. The age at which a woman's first mammogram should take place varies according to several factors:
- If there is a history of breast cancer in close relatives, in Spain, it is recommended that the first mammogram is performed after 35 years old annually, but this may be different in the UK.
- If there is no history of breast cancer in close relatives, the recommendation is to perform a mammography from age 50 every three years in the UK.
It should be emphasized that, in the case of Spanish public health, this examination only forms part of a routine gynecological check-up after age 50 and every two years. For this reason, many patients choose to do it independently by making use of their own private healthcare.
Other gynecological examinations
The previous examinations are essential and must be performed in any gynecologist consultation. There are other tests that can be performed depending on the patient, for example:
- A biopsy, where a sample is taken to confirm the status of a specific area of the female genitalia
- Genital ultrasound to observe the state of the uterus, ovaries and Fallopian tubes where an anomaly is suspected
- Colposcopy to examine the cervix in detail, which is usually performed on women with HPV or where the disease is suspected to be present
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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