What is Included in an Annual Gynecological Exam?

In today’s world where health issues are pacing at a very rapid speed, regular checkups are becoming a necessity. Talking about women, in particular, the cases of gynecological diseases have been highly reported. Just like any other regular checkup, getting an annual gynecological examination is quite important for every female. If you are unaware of what all happens during this exam, need not worry. It’s okay to be curious and important to be known to the concept of the gynecological exam before getting one done. You can visit separate gynecology clinic Montreal in Canada or opt for any gynecological clinic in your area for the examination.

Why Annual Gynecological Exam is Important?

You should start seeing a gynecologist as soon as you hit the age of 21. But if you have been sexually active before the mentioned age, you should be paying an early visit. Within the age period of 21-29, an annual visit is necessary, whereas when in your 30s to mid-60s, alternate years of visit might work as well. Commonly occurring issues like irregular periods, vaginal infections, etc. should be detected at the earliest. A regular checkup can also help you be aware of the presence of any STIs in your body. These, if not detected, can be fatal for a woman.

How to Be Ready for the Exam?

Before actually going to the doctor for your exam, there are a few things that you need to do beforehand. They are as follows:

  • If not urgent, then take an appointment for the checkup when you are not bleeding. This means after your menstruation bleeding stops. The reason behind this is the interference of blood during the tests that can give incorrect results.
  • Try not to have sexual intercourse at least 24 hours prior to the exam. Not just sex, but also avoid inserting any kind of vaginal product into your vagina. The reason is the irritation that might occur in the tissue because of the intercourse will give incorrect lab results.
  • Write down the things that you want to discuss with your doctor. Make a list of any unusual reactions by your genitals, if any. Other than that, also mention if any irregular bleedings or discharges or even foul odors are noticed.
  • Be ready to tell about your last menstrual date and your cycle period. You’ll definitely be asked this question.

What All Will Be Done During the Exam?

Your examination will be done in stages. It is completely okay to get uncomfortable because your private parts will be touched. You can anytime ask the doctor to help you make comfortable or wait for you to calm down. You shouldn’t be scared of anything as you’ll hardly experience any kind of pain. Here’s what will happen:

  • Breast Examination:

The examination of the breasts is done to ensure there are no lumps or suspicious tissues in them. The doctor touches the breasts in a circular motion with the fingers. It feels like a gentle massage. In case you experience any unusual pain or restlessness during the checkup, do mention it to your doctor. The breast exam will last for a maximum of 1 to 1.5 minutes only. In case you are above 35 years of age, the doctor might recommend a test to cross out the chances of breast cancer. Thus, this particular test will end sooner than you’ll know.

  • Pelvic Examination:

During this examination, the doctor will check both, internal and external genital parts. For the test, you’ll be asked to lie down with your feet placed on the footrest. This will help in keeping your knees apart and easy inspection. A light cover will be placed on the hips and thighs to cover them for your comfort. Don’t panic and stress out before and during the test. Keep your body relaxed and calm. Try to pee before the test. Reason being the restlessness that might occur with a full bladder. The duration of the test will approximately be 5 minutes.

Here’s what the doctor will do:

  • At first, the external part of your vagina, also known as the vulva, will be checked. Infection, soreness, and irritation are what the doctor looks for.
  • Then, a lubricated instrument will be inserted in your vagina. It won’t hurt a lot. You’ll just feel normal pressure. In case you experience some severe pain or irritation, inform your doctor immediately and don’t panic. The instrument is called the speculum. It looks like a duck bill and is made of metal. When inserted it is closed. Once inside, it is very gently opened to separate your interior vagina walls for a better view of the walls and the cervix. 
  • Then, with the help of a cotton pad, the sample of the cells present on your cervical will be taken. There is a term used for it i.e., Pap smear. This helps to diagnose any kind of STIs, cancers, or even infections.
  • Further, your reproductive organs will be checked. The doctor will perform this test with fingers. He/she will wear gloves made of latex and lubricate the fingers that are to be inserted. This is done to minimize the chances of pain and irritation. With the other hand, the doctor will gently press the lower abdomen to feel your uterus and other reproductive organs. Here, he looks for size, shape, and suspicious tissues on the organs.
  • Your doctor might also check your rectum by inserting lubricated fingers. This is done to cross out any unusual tissue or lump behind the uterus. Abnormalities behind vaginal walls and rectum can also be checked through this.

Once the complete test is performed, you’ll then discuss the general observations with the doctor. You are also free to ask any questions that are in your mind to the doctor. You might experience some hesitation while asking questions about your genitals. But know this for sure that your gynecologist is the best source of a true and reliable source of information.

Bottom Line:

Thus, asking all that you need to have a good and healthy sexual life is the best thing you can do. Patient-Doctor confidentiality is applicable to every doctor. So you don’t have to worry about your privacy intervention. Therefore, make sure that you take an annual gynecological test to remain in the best of your health.

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Catherine

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