A woman's annual gynecological exam covers several points of care. When the patient first arrives, the medical assistant will take a set of vitals including blood pressure and weight. Often a urine sample is requested as well. The provider will then perform an exam including a pelvic exam and a breast exam. For more information on self-breast exams, please visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam. The doctor will address any concerns the patient has and go over the results of the screenings. If any of the results came back with abnormal results, the doctor may choose to perform additional tests.
Pap smears are not always performed as a part of a gynecological women's wellness exam. Frequency of a pap smear is individualized and often based on age, risk factors, and provider preference. Women under the age of 21 do not need a pap smear, but you're always checked for sexually transmitted diseases if sexually active.
An annual gynecological exam can uncover several different health conditions that affect a woman's reproductive system. Sexually transmitted diseases, ovarian cysts, hormonal imbalances, fibroid cysts, cervical dysplasia, breast cancer, as well as many other types of reproductive cancers. In most cases, the main causes of concern for most women have to do with birth control/hormone replacement and irregular or extremely painful periods. During the interview, the patient may relay information or have questions that can lead to the doctor making a further examination that leads to the discovery of an illness in its earliest stages.
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