Things You Should Know About Your Gynecological Exam, Part 3

(Originally Posted on Aug 29, 2014)

In this series of blog posts, I have been discussing the various screenings and topics that are covered during a woman’s yearly gynecological exam.

As you can see, your annual check-up is much more than just a pap smear.

In fact, based upon your risk category for cervical cancer (or lack thereof), you may not need a yearly pap smear.

Read on to learn even more about what is covered during your exam so you can stay healthy and well for years to come.

Preconception Counseling

Preconception counseling (before pregnancy) is an important part of ensuring a healthy baby. At least three to six months before trying to become pregnant, it’s essential to meet with your OB/GYN.

Your doctor will inform you of what steps you can take to prepare your body for pregnancy and to minimize health risks for yourself and your baby. This preconception counseling will usually be part of your annual exam.

Your OB/GYN doctor will also discuss health issues like smoking, nutrition and your medical, surgical and reproductive history as well as concerns you may have about becoming pregnant.

You will also discuss your family medical history and whether there is any reason to consider genetic counseling before attempting to conceive. If you have any potential risk for nutritional deficiencies in pregnancy, your doctor may suggest adding certain supplements, like a prenatal vitamin and additional folic acid to your routine.

Finally, if you are currently trying to get pregnant, your provider can discuss how to detect ovulation (usually by charting your menstrual cycles and body temperature) to better determine the timing of when you are most likely to get pregnant.

Screening for Benign Uterine and Ovarian Conditions

Uterine polyps, endometriosis, and uterine leiomyomas (most commonly known as fibroids) are all conditions that can exist in the reproductive system without causing problems. However, since all these conditions can cause abnormally heavy periods, can sometimes cause pain, and in rare cases, can lead to complications, it’s important to know if these conditions exist.

Simple screenings will be part of your annual gynecological exam and can help you and your doctor keep a watchful eye on any benign uterine conditions and ovarian growths. This is one more piece of the overall puzzle of maintaining your reproductive and overall health.

Choose an OB GYN in Palm Beach County You Can Trust

Your annual gynecological exam is an important part of a comprehensive approach to staying healthy. If you’re looking for a Board Certified OB/GYN, please call Palm Beach Obstetrics & Gynecology today at (561) 434-0111 or request to schedule your appointment online.

Our practice offers three convenient offices in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. We accept most insurance and are currently welcoming new patients.

References

1. The March of Dimes: Getting Healthy Before Pregnancy.
http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/getting-healthy-before-pregnancy.aspx
2. Cancer Epidemiology: Relationship of benign gynecologic diseases to subsequent risk of ovarian and uterine tumors.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16365012
3. Sexual Health of Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States.
http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/sexual-health-of-adolescents-and-young-adults-in-the-united-states/

Author
Dr. Sam Lederman

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