What happens during a routine gynecology exam?
First, a personal and family medical history will be taken to help identify possible health risks. Be sure to report any medications you may be taking. Your weight and blood pressure will be recorded and a general physical assessment will be made. In most cases, a clinical breast exam will be performed and a pelvic exam with Pap test and HPV test may also be performed. Depending on your needs, you may receive counseling or guidance regarding birth control, menopause care or other needs. You'll also have plenty of time to discuss any concerns or symptoms you may have been having.
How often do I need to see a gynecologist if I'm healthy?
Even if you're healthy, you should still have an exam every year to look for signs of possible disease and to keep an ongoing record of your health as you get older and our needs change. Pap tests may be performed annually or every other year, depending on your age and other risk factors. You can discuss the frequency of Pap tests during your appointment.
Does an abnormal Pap test result mean I have cancer?
No, there are many causes of abnormal pap test results. One of the most common causes of abnormal results is infection with the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is a family of very common viruses, so common that nearly every person comes in contact with at least one of these viruses at some point. In most cases, the body can clear the virus, but some viruses are persistent. A few have been linked with genital warts and an increased risk for cervical cancer. Abnormal results can also occur as a result of hormonal fluctuations, yeast infections and other causes.