Despite the current trend toward fitness and well-being, many women still do not take enough care of their bodies. Far too often they assume that good health means an absence of disease or that female complaint is the necessary burden of their sex. These assumptions are incorrect, often dangerously so.
The Range Of Female Tests
The gynaecologist begins a full examination by taking your medical, personal, and gynaecological history. It is helpful if you have handy details of previous tests and problems, dates of your last few periods, any premenstrual symptoms that you experience, and any other facts you think might be relevant, including your method of contraception.
The gynaecologist examines your breasts, and, if necessary, refers you for mammography (X-ray) and gives instruction in breast examination, all with the purpose of detecting abnormalities that can give an early indication of breast cancer.
He will examine your pelvic region for any signs of disease, abnormal growths, or damage or infection in the uterus, cervix, or vagina. Next, he will take a Pap smear (also called cervical smear or Cytotec) – a routine of all gynaecological examinations. The procedure entails lightly scraping off some of the cells of the lining of the cervix (neck of the uterus). The sample is sent to the laboratory to be examined for possible malignancy. Women have taken, or whose mothers took, the steroid DES or whose Pap results are abnormal will have a colposcopy, a painless examination of the cervix with the aid of a specially designed microscope.
Women who have abnormal vaginal discharges are tested for vaginal and cervical infections by taking a sample for laboratory culture. In this way, common infections such as vaginal itching or trichomoniasis and any venereal diseases that might show can be diagnosed and treated.
Additional tests for blood pressure, anemia, urinary infections, diabetes, and rubella, which can damage a fetus or cause miscarriage or stillbirth, will also be taken where appropriate. After the examination, when the doctor discusses his findings, remember to ask any questions you might have; it is useful to make a list of such questions.
- Have you had a full gynaecological examination in the last year?
- Have you had a professional breast examination in the last year?
- Have you had a Pap smear in the last year?
- Have you recently noticed a sudden change in your period?
- Have you noticed a recent change in your breasts?
- Do you think you may have a disease or disorder?