Why Women Need A Special Annual Checkup
Successful treatments hinge on early detection
Why special exams and screenings specifically for women?
Which are the tests recommended specifically for women?
Here’s a list of some of the most important screenings and exams geared toward women’s health. By all means, this list isn’t comprehensive, as every woman’s health needs are unique. Use this guide as a starting point to determine the next steps, but be sure to talk to your doctor to determine which services are right for you.
Female Reproductive Tests
Apart from the standard procedures, women can expect a whole set of annual exams specifically suited for their unique reproductive system. At a minimum, women need regular health check ups to check for signs of breast cancer and cervical cancer. You may see your primary care physician for this or visit a health clinic.
During an annual clinical breast exam, your doctor will both visually and physically palpate your breast. The goal is to check for any lumps, bumps, or skin abnormalities that could indicate the presence of breast infections or cancer.
A mammogram is a breast exam for women aged 30 and older. It involves gently sandwiching the breast in between two radiographic chest plates. Your doctor then takes an imaging scan of the breast tissue. This is the most effective method to detect even the earliest and most minor signs of breast cancer.
Your gynecologist will visually and physically examine your external vagina and internal cervix to check for abnormalities, infections, and other conditions. A part of this exam includes inserting two gloved fingers into the vagina to feel your uterus and ovaries for abnormalities. It can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful.
PAP smear and HPV Test
These screenings are vital to examine the presence of precancerous and cancerous cells in the cervix, and are usually recommended for women 21 to 65 years old. Your doctor will insert a sterile swab to gently scrape off your cervical cells to obtain a sample which is then sent to the lab for analysis. Risk factors like family history, sexual activity with multiple partners, or weakened immunity will determine how often you need the PAP smear and HPV tests.
While both women and men encounter many of the same health risks, some health issues affect women exclusively. Therefore, additional and special tests and screenings during an annual checkup as listed above are necessary.
Remember that the recommended frequency and starting age for each screening can vary depending on individual health factors and family history. Talk to your doctor or contact your closest private health services provider to determine the best plan for you.