About Gynecological Exam
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Why have a Gynecological Exam?
A gynecological exam is a series of tests done in regard to the female reproductive system. The best reason to have a gynecological exam is for it to act as a preventative measure in regard to your reproductive and physical well-being.
Such an exam allows for the early detection of diseases such as pelvic infections, ovarian, cervical and breast cancer which are usually asymptomatic in the early stages and this increases the chances of survival.When to have your first gynecological exam
This exam should begin at the age of 21 but if sexual active it should begin earlier. This allows a doctor- patient relationship to be established and pelvic exams are rarely required. This visits can be used to field any questions about a woman’s development, menstrual cycle, sexual relationships, how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases as well as methods of birth control.Steps that you can take to prepare yourself include:
What to Expect
- Schedule the visit between menstrual periods as they can interfere with the exam and the laboratory results.
- Do not insert anything in the vagina including vaginal sexual intercourse or use vaginal products for at least 24 hours before the visit. Sexual activity can cause irritation to the vaginal tissue and lead to incorrect results.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the gynecologist during your visit.
- Know the date of your last period and how long you period normally last.
The Breast Exam:
- At the start of the visit, your basic measurements such as blood pressure, weight, height and the date your last period started.
- You will be given a gown to undress into and privacy.
- The gynecological exam can include discussing your personal and family medical history, contraceptive options, sexual history and safe sex.
- This is also the time to field any questions about vaginal discharge, bleeding, pain or odor, irregular periods, pregnancy tests and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Pelvic Exam:
- This exam serves to check for any irregularities or lumps in the breast tissue. The doctor will examine the breasts by making gentle linear and circular motions with his/her fingers and this should last for about a minute. The doctor will also teach you how to perform a breast exam on yourself.
- The doctor will examine the external genitalia to check for signs of infection sores or irritation. He/she will then insert a lubricated instrument-speculum- into the vagina and then slowly open it to separate the vaginal walls. This will provide him/her with a view of the cervix and the vaginal wall.
- Cervical cells will be collected by swiping the cervical mucus with a cotton swab. This will help detect the presence of abnormalities. The doctor will examine the reproductive organs by inserting one or two fingers into the vagina. This procedure will examine the shape, size and position of the uterus. The doctor may insert a finger into the rectum to check for any abnormalities of the vaginal wall, uterus or rectum.
- You will need to lie on an exam table with your feet on footrests to keep your knees apart. Slight discomfort during this exam is normal but you should let the doctor know if there is a pain. The following are some things that you can expect during this exam. After the gynecological exam, the doctor will discuss with you his/ her findings and you can also ask any additional questions that you may have.
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