Prevent future illnesses with a Women's Health Physical.
Eating a healthy diet and getting exercise is of vital importance, but how important are women's health exams to your overall well being?
According to one important study, exams can provide about 20% of the information that your doctor requires for condition management. Inadequate access to health exams can lead to a lot of other problems.
What Purpose Does a Physical Serve?
A women's health physical may address either your general health or a problem. Even though these physicals are usually annual when performed by a primary care doctor, they may be more often if your doctor is treating you for any health conditions. If you have uterine issues, for example, a gynecologist may address these problems as a part of their examination.
Your medical history will be a part of all your examinations. The doctor will inquire about your personal health, as well as the medical history of your parents, grandparents, and siblings, especially any history of breast or uterine cancer. Making sure you have this information before your checkup is helpful. Also provide information on any medications you take, as well as procedures, tests, and surgeries, including any childbirths.
A mammogram, in simple terms, is a breast X-ray that can detect breast cancer at its early stages. The technician will take the images from a side view. Although the procedure is uncomfortable for many, the ability to detect breast cancer early is always preferable.
Even if you have normal results, your doctor will likely want regular follow ups to make sure there are no abnormalities. In the event of abnormal results, you may be referred for additional tests and see a surgeon. Always ask your regular doctor if you have questions or concerns about your test results.
A Pap smear or test allows doctors to check for cervical cancer by collecting cells from the cervical area at the bottom of your uterus. One of the advantages of this test is detecting this often-aggressive form of cancer at early stages. Another advantage is being able to predict future cancer so it can be caught early if it should arise.
When you have a Pap smear, it may take place at the same time as a pelvic exam. Although both procedures are likely to be somewhat uncomfortable, they can save your life. The odds of beating cervical cancer are much better with early detection and treatment.
A breast exam will allow your doctor to check for lumps or other abnormalities. Unlike the self-exam you can perform at home, a clinical breast exam will allow you to have the expert knowledge of your doctor.
Your doctor will look for any visual abnormalities, as well as feel for any unusual textures or fluid coming from the breasts. If your doctor finds any abnormalities, further testing might be necessary.
Age for Pap Smear
Women should have Pap smears starting at 21, repeated every three years until age 65. When women are over 30, they may be able to consider testing at five-year intervals if the Pap test is done at the same time as HPV testing.
More frequent Pap smears may be necessary with certain risk factors. These include precancerous cells or a cervical cancer diagnosis, a weakened immune system, pre-birth diethylstilbestrol exposure, HIV infection, and a history of tobacco use.
One thing to keep in mind is that annual physicals often save lives. Better treatment for your conditions is possible when your doctor has the necessary information. Following your doctor's advice about managing any conditions, as well as keeping a healthy diet and staying active will make a difference.
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