Gynecology & Annual Exams
Routine annual exams, also known as “Well Woman” exams, are essential to detect and prevent the unique health problems that women face from their teenage years through post menopause. A woman’s annual checkup includes a pelvic exam and breast exam, and for many women, a Pap smear.
Annual Well Woman Exams Include Evaluation For:
- Cancer prevention and screening
- Treatment of infertility
- Persistent pelvic pain, fatigue, heavy bleeding or bladder leakage
- Contraception options
- Nutritional Counseling/ALCAT Testing
10 Things To Discuss With Your Gynecologist
As an advocate of women’s health, Dr. Peahen Gandhi, a board-certified OB-GYN with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, recommends her patients to discuss any “out of the ordinary” changes in their health with their doctor.
The following are the Top Ten things you should always discuss with your gynecologist:
- My period has gotten heavier.
Heavy bleeding has many causes, among which include hormonal imbalance, the onset of menopause, uterine fibroid tumors, cervical or endometrial polyps or cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), lupus, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and bleeding disorders.Letting your doctor know about the history and symptoms of your excessive bleeding will allow her to perform the appropriate tests and prescribe the proper treatment for you.
- I leak whenever I run on the treadmill.
“A patient will say to me, Hey, doc, sometimes a little urine comes out when I laugh, but that’s just a part of getting older, right?,” Dr. Gandhi says. The strength of the pelvic floor often has more to do with pregnancy, childbirth, even excess weight than age. Your doctor can recommend several very effective treatments – including Kegel exercises – which may alleviate your symptoms without the need for surgery or medication.
- I feel like my bladder has fallen.
Patients may experience pain or pressure in the back or bowel area, or the sensation of a bladder infection or general malaise when they “overdo” certain activities. If you do have a “fallen bladder,” your doctor may prescribe pelvic floor strengthening muscles, insert a “pessary” device or recommend surgery to correct the problem.
- My mother had cancer in her female organs.
Only 5 to 15 percent of cancers are inherited. Your doctor will perform appropriate screenings and offer suggestions to you – including diet, exercise and lifestyle choices – that may help you minimize your risk.
- My last Pap smear was abnormal.
About one in 10 Pap smears indicate some abnormality, which may indicate infection, herpes, HPV (genital warts), recent sexual activity or dysplasia. Your doctor will likely recommend a follow-up evaluation, but most times the result is not cause for alarm.
- I have pain with sex.
Discuss the history of the pain with your doctor, whether it is something new or has been going on for some time. She will conduct a thorough physical examination and recommend the appropriate treatment for you, as necessary.
- I feel a breast lump.
Again, more than 80 to 90 percent of all breast lumps are benign, particularly in women under age 40, but it warrants a conversation with your doctor. If symptoms include nipple discharge, “dimpling” of the skin on the breast, a lump in the armpit or a hard, painless lump, your doctor may recommend a biopsy.
- I am tied to the bed because I have so much pain with my period.
Painful periods are the number one cause of time missed at school or work for women in their teens and 20s. While the pain is rarely related to any specific problems, your doctor can rule out abnormalities and recommend a range of options for pain management and treatment.
- I get frequent urinary tract infections.
Pain, burning sensation, urinary urgency and blood in the urine often are the result of E. Coli bacteria in the urinary tract. Your doctor will perform a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria causing your infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment for you.
- Is there any way I can tie my tubes without surgery?
There is a device that can be inserted into the fallopian tubes through a simple office procedure that serves as an irreversible “tube-tying” solution. Your doctor will discuss whether the solution is right for you.