Yearly Well Woman Visit & Pap Test
Annual well-woman exams are important to maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle and preventing infection, disease or other abnormalities. Since early detection is important in treating nearly every condition, especially diseases like cancer, regular exams can help spot any abnormalities right away.
At One to One FemaleCare, a gynecological exam, breast exam and Pap smear are recommended each year for women who are sexually active or over the age of 18. During these exams, your doctor will check for signs of breast cancer, cervical cancer, STDs, infections or other abnormalities. Well woman care is one of the most important steps you can take in preventing disease.
Annual Gynecological Exam
The annual gynecological exam, also known as a gynecological well-visit, is a yearly preventative and diagnostic examination which serves to maintain the wellness of female patients, as well as monitor any ongoing physical and hormonal conditions. This annual visit is an opportunity for doctors to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks. The annual gynecological exam includes a routine breast and pelvic exam, and may include a screening for sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. A Pap test may also be performed depending on the age and sexual history of the patient. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women begin annual pelvic exams at the age of 21.
During the annual well-visit, a physical examination will be performed to assess the patient's overall health. The examination may vary based on the patient's age and sexual history, but most annual gynecological examinations may include the following:
- Pelvic exam
- Breast exam
- Pap smear
- HPV screening
- Blood pressure check
- Height and weight measurement
- Urine screening
- Cholesterol screening every 3 to 5 years
- Complete blood count
- Thyroid screening
- Screening for blood in stool
In addition, there are several other tests that may be recommended for patients. These may include monthly self examination of the breasts, mammograms, bone density screenings, skin and mole examinations, blood sugar tests and others, based on age, individual medical history, family history, and lifestyle habits.
HPV Testing & Vaccine
Genital human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is a sexually transmitted viral infection. There are more than 40 different kinds of HPV that can infect the genitalia, mouth and throats of men and women. For some people, the immune system will remove the infection over the course of two years, but, for others, HPV may lead to genital warts or cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus.
More than 20 million people in the United States are infected with HPV, with an estimated six million people becoming infected each year. It is estimated that at least half of all sexually active people will contract HPV at some point in their lives.
Diagnosis of HPV
Because many types of HPV do not present any symptoms, regular testing is recommended to screen for cervical cancer and other complications of HPV. There is no standard test to detect HPV viruses. Many forms of HPV can be diagnosed through your annual Pap smear and that it why it is so important to make a yearly well woman exam at One to One FemaleCare. If abnormalities are found, a DNA test, which can test for 13 high-risk types of HPV, may be performed.
If warts or lesions appear in the genital area, medical attention and testing for HPV.
There are currently two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, available to protect against high-risk types of HPV. Gardasil, the first HPV vaccine, targets the types of HPV that cause genital warts. Cervarix helps protect women from cervical cancer. Both vaccines are highly effective in preventing the targeted HPV types, as well as the most common health problems that they cause. Both Gardasil and Cervarix are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
It is important to note that the vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV, so they will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. Since about 30 percent of cervical cancers will not be prevented by the vaccine, it is important for young women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer through an annual PAP test. These vaccines do not prevent other sexually transmitted infections, so safe sex practices should always be followed.
HPV Vaccination Recommendations
The HPV vaccination is recommended for girls and boys. Both vaccines are effective for females between the ages of 9 and 26, and the Gardasil vaccine is effective for males between the ages of 9 and 26. Ideally females should get the vaccine before they become sexually active and exposed to HPV. These vaccinations are administered as three separate injections over the course of 6 months.
Call the office today to find out more about our OB-GYN Services