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Maintain Your Health and Know Your Body Through Essential Gynecological Exams

By Dr. Jesús Alberto Félix Atondo

Reproductive health is essential for a healthy body and mind. Unfortunately, only half of the women globally have a yearly gynecological check-up. You can maintain your health and know your body through essential gynecological exams.

 

Why It is Important to Have Annual Gynecological Exams

Many times, diseases are detected early through yearly exams. This is especially true for STDs in females because we are often asymptomatic. During an annual gynecological exam, the doctor will recognize symptoms such as discharge and other telltale signs of infection you may not know.

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Your height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, and temperature will be taken during the exam. You will be given a pelvic and breast exam, a PAP smear, and an internal exam will be done. The thorough exam alerts your doctor and you to things that could be going on in your body that you are not aware of.

It is also a great time to ask questions, update birth control, and talk about symptoms you may be embarrassed to ask friends and family.

The most important reason for a yearly exam is early detection of cancer in the reproductive organs. Early detection leads to the best outcomes. Since 1940, Cervical cancer has decreased by 70% just from women having annual gynecologist exams!

 

When Should You Have Your First Gynecological Exam?

 All girls should have their first gynecological check-up between thirteen and fifteen or earlier if they begin menstruating.

This exam gives the doctor a baseline for future exams. It also ensures you get the correct information about self-breast exams, sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control information, and it allows you to ask questions that may be embarrassing to ask someone else.

Understanding menstruation and birth control helps reduce teen pregnancy. All girls and women should know how to do a monthly breast exam.

Early reproductive self-care leads young women to be comfortable with their bodies and make the best birth control choices as they have their first sexual encounter!

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Gynecological Exams and When They Should Be Done

Important Symptoms

Suppose you are having pain during or after intercourse, vaginal bleeding between periods, discharge from your breast(s), have found a lump during your monthly self-breast exam, or you suspect you have a urinary infection, make an appointment.

The doctor will do an internal exam, run some tests, and possibly do a PAP smear. If more testing is warranted, they will explain why and treat you accordingly.

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As women age, you will need exams that reflect your health, such as pregnancy or menopause.

  • Annual Gynecological exam – This is a yearly preventative appointment. The doctor will do an internal and external pelvic and breast exam, and if sexually active, the gynecologist test list may include an HPV and STD screening. Your Pap test will be done, and you will be told to have a mammogram if age-appropriate. The doctor will ask if you have any issues, pain, or anything else you have noticed. Based on your responses and any symptoms, the doctor may diagnose you with endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or pelvic floor dysfunction, among other diseases. Once diagnosed, you and your healthcare professional will decide on a treatment plan.
  • Family Planning – Family planning includes infertility, pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal care, and sterilization.
  • Infertility – Internal exams, blood tests, and MRIs will all be used to diagnose infertility. These are done when you are unable to get pregnant. Treatment is different for every couple. Talk to your doctor at your yearly gynecologist check-up if you have trouble conceiving.
  • Prenatal Care – Your initial visit once you are pregnant will entail a history and physical, blood work, and an internal exam. Tests for genetic and congenital disabilities will also be done. If you are in a high-risk pregnancy, the doctor may order tests and bloodwork appropriate for your condition. You will have monthly check-ups early in the pregnancy and appointments more frequently as your due date gets closer. Fetal monitoring, internal exams, and ultrasounds will be done at some prenatal appointments. These prenatal tests help detect problems during pregnancy early on.
  • Reproductive Emergency Care – While annual exams enable early detection of some conditions, there are times when you may need emergency surgery or elective surgery such as a hysterectomy, ovarian cysts, or fibroid tumors. Your gynecologist will know your history, and the surgery can be done easily with a positive outcome!
  • Menopause – As you age, you will reach menopause. While your doctor may talk about this at your annual exam, many women opt for counseling, especially when choosing hormone replacement therapy.

While yearly gynecological check-ups are essential, as a woman, you need to understand what is going on in your body, be comfortable with yourself, and do your monthly breast exam. Call your gynecologist as soon as a problem arises!

At The Fertility Center Mexico, we understand the importance of women’s health. Our gynecological check-ups, preimplantation genetic test in Tijuana, infertility treatments, timed intercourse cycle and prenatal care are affordable to all women. We offer care to all women in Mexico and the US.

Our rates are more affordable than in the US. Start your journey of reproductive health with an evaluation by our expert gynecologists!

Are you looking for some information on a specific reproductive condition? Check out our informational blog!

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Dr. Jesús Alberto Félix Atondo

Gynecology, Obstetrics and Biology of Human Reproduction Surgeon at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, specialist Biologist of Human Reproduction by the Mexican Institute of Infertility.

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