It’s time for your annual pelvic exam. As you prepare to lie down on the table and be prodded in a very sensitive area, you can’t help but wonder if this is really necessary. Pelvic exams start in your late teens or early twenties, and will continue into your golden years. They are an important part of your wellness plan.
The Southlake OBGYN team wants you to think of your pelvic exam as a proactive measure that you take regarding your reproductive health. Understanding why you go for this annual or biannual exam can give you peace of mind.
Why is Your Pelvic Exam a Vital Part of Your Health Care?
You first start going to the gynecologist in your teen years. This is the point when your menstrual cycle has started and there is the possibility that you became sexually active. Gynecologists perform exams in those early years by focusing primarily on the external. We’ll look to make sure there are no visible problems with your vaginal tissues, and ask important questions about your menstrual cycle and sexual activity. We may do preventative testing for sexually transmitted diseases during this time. The human papillomavirus is another concern we will test for in an effort to treat it effectively and reduce the risk of it developing certain forms of cancer that affect your reproductive organs. Once you reached the age of 21, your internal pelvic exams began.
Why Does Your Gynecologist Focus on a Pelvic Exam?
During a pelvic exam, we will insert gloved fingers into your vagina in order to feel your reproductive organs. This is so we can detect anything that feels abnormal. During the next phase of the exam, a speculum will be inserted into your vagina. It opens up the vagina in order to allow us to see the vaginal canal and the cervix. The main goal during this portion of the exam is to detect any abnormalities. In addition, a swab of cells will be taken in order to be tested at the lab. We will be looking for the presence of cancerous cells, the human papillomavirus, and sexually transmitted diseases. With regular exams and a vigilant doctor, any problems can be identified and treated early. Your pelvic exams could save your life.
When Should You Ask for a Pelvic Exam
Our doctors will schedule annual or biannual pelvic exams unless you have a condition that requires your visits to be more frequent. If you are experiencing pain or abnormal bleeding, you can request an exam to get to the bottom of your problem. Never be afraid to be your own advocate. Remember that your pelvic exams can help you to treat any problems you are having and detect hidden conditions that you might not even know exist. The sooner you take care of any issues, the better you will feel.
If you’re looking to start your pelvic exam regimen, or if you have any questions on the pelvic exam process, please call our Clermont office for a consultation.