What you should know about gynecological examinations
Many gynecological diseases, even malignant tumors, do not have any symptoms in the early stages. One may not realize their health is in danger until after several years of precancerous lesions. The good thing is that regular gynecological physical examinations can help women effectively screen for early "clues" of gynecological diseases. Early detection, early diagnosis, and early treatment of illness are essential life habits. So what does a gynecological examination involve?
1. Gynecological examination:
As an important means of diagnosing diseases related to female reproductive organs, it includes the examination of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus and bilateral appendages. Gynecological examinations can generally assess gynecological conditions, and many abnormalities, such as vulvar neoplasms, reproductive tract developmental malformations, abnormal secretions, and cervical polyps, can be found through gynecological examinations. Vaginal discharge (leucorrhea) can be taken during gynecological examinations to screen for vaginitis and other diseases.
2. Methods and timing of cervical cancer screening:
The main method for cervical cancer screening is a three-step examination. The first step includes cervical cytology and high-risk HPV detection, the second step is a colposcopy, and the third is a histopathological examination after cervical biopsy. The three-step examination is gradually carried out and can screen out cervical precancerous lesions and early cervical cancer.
Women under 25 generally do not need to be screened. However, for young women with an active sexual life and a family history or high-risk factors for cervical cancer, individualized screening is recommended after consulting a specialist.
For women aged 25-64, cytology screening is carried out, and if the result is negative, the screening can be repeated every three years.
Women aged 30-65 can also be screened via high-risk HPV testing. If the result is negative, the screening can be repeated every three to five years. HPV testing combined with cytology screening can also be used. If the results are both negative, the screening can be repeated every five years.
Women aged over 65 who have had three consecutive negative cytology tests or two consecutive negative combined screening tests in the past 10 years and no history of cervical precancerous lesion or invasive cancer can stop being screened.
HPV vaccination is not a substitute for screening, and screening of vaccinated women is the same as that of un-vaccinated women.
3. Methods and timing of endometrial cancer screening:
Gynecological pelvic-vaginal ultrasonography is recommended for endometrial cancer screening. Unmarried women can choose between an abdominal and pelvic ultrasonography or rectal ultrasonography. Gynecological ultrasonography can also screen for uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and other diseases.
Women are encouraged to receive a gynecologic pelvic ultrasonography at least once annually.
4. Methods and timing of breast cancer screening:
The main methods for breast cancer screening include a manual breast examination by an experienced breast specialist, breast ultrasonography, and mammography. The three methods can be adopted in combination or complement one another.
Non-high-risk women aged 20-39 can temporarily not be screened, and high-risk groups can receive individualized screening after consulting a specialist.
For women aged 40-49, breast cancer screening is recommended annually.
For women aged 50-69, breast cancer screening is recommended every one to two years.
For women aged over 70, breast cancer screening is recommended every two years.
5. Precautions for gynecological examination:
(1) Avoid being examined during the menstrual period; but if there is irregular vaginal bleeding, seek medical attention immediately to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
(2) Avoid sexual activities, vaginal douching, vaginal medication or lubricants three days before the examination.
(3) Wear loose clothing that is easy to remove and avoid jumpsuits and tights.
(4) Communicate frankly with the doctor and do not hide any important information, so as to not delay diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
(5) Empty the bladder before a vaginal examination, as this will affect the examination results.
The Women's Health Care Department of the Chongqing Health Center for Women and Children (CQHCWC)
Address: Area A, 4th Floor, Outpatient Clinic, Ranjiaba Branch of the CQHCWC
Service hours: 9 am-noon, 2-5:30 pm from Monday to Friday; 8 am-noon on Saturday
Reminder: You can click "Women's Health Care Department" online to make an appointment for pre-pregnancy, post-partum and physical examinations.