Keep Up with Your Health This Year: Schedule a Gynecological Exam

Gynecology, Gynecological, exam, OB/GYN, Dr. Richard Bardowell, STD

Your annual gynecological exam is more than just a Pap smear. It’s an important part of preventive health, giving you the opportunity to learn more about your health status and act quickly if something is amiss. Despite the benefits of yearly well-woman visits, many women are still missing their annual gynecological exam. Learn why your yearly exam plays a key role in your health and why you shouldn’t put off scheduling your well-woman visit.

As an OB/GYN, Dr. Richard Bardowell’s primary goal is to keep you healthy. Annual gynecological exams are one way to accomplish this goal. When it comes to women’s health, there’s no such thing as being too cautious about caring for your body. It’s much easier to combat a potential problem in its early stages, rather than when it advances. For women, this means scheduling regular health checkups, including a gynecological exam and doing what’s best for your body.

Breast exam

A clinical breast exam is a part of your annual gynecological exam. Dr. Bardowell will feel your breasts, underarm, and the area below your breast bone to check for changes, lumps, or other abnormalities. If the exam detects anything abnormal, you will need follow-up tests to determine whether or not it is cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends getting a clinical breast exam starting at age 25 and continuing after you start getting mammograms.

Hormone tests

Your provider may order blood tests to look at your level of sex hormones. This is to detect hormonal problems early. Problems such as low estrogen can cause a host of symptoms, including fatigue, changes in mood, trouble sleeping, night sweats and hot flashes. Testing these hormones will give your provider a complete picture of your hormonal health. Dr. Bardowell will follow up with you if your test results reveal hormonal abnormalities.

Pelvic exam

Routine pelvic exams involve visually and physically checking your reproductive organs. The doctor will check your vagina, ovaries, cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes, and vulva. It’s recommended that women begin scheduling routine pelvic exams at the age of 21. If you have certain health issues or risk factors your provider may recommend scheduling them sooner.  

Pap smear

A Pap smear is part of a pelvic exam and is a simple screening that detects abnormal changes in cervical cells. It can detect specific changes that raise your chances of developing cervical cancer. More than 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually. Getting routine pap smears can catch cervical cancer at early stages when it is easier to treat. Early detection can save your life. It’s recommended that you get routine Pap smears starting at age 20. Based on your health history and risk factors, your provider may recommend that you schedule a Pap smear annually or every three years. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary risk factor for cervical cancer.

Other screenings

Dr. Bardowell may recommend other screenings as part of your gynecological exam. These may include screening for sexually transmitted diseases and discussing vaccination for HPV. Any woman who is sexually active is at risk of getting an STD. Using latex condoms helps to reduce the chances of contracting an infection. Screening for uterine and ovarian conditions may be included in your gynecological exam as well

Through his Burbank, California practice, Dr. Bardowell provides women with the highest quality of care. Call our office to schedule your well-woman visit, or use our convenient web form to book online.

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