The regular gynecological check-up aims to detect health issues in women in a timely manner, contributing to their effective management. It is a “gift” that every woman owes to herself and should not neglect, even when not experiencing specific discomfort or symptoms.
It is worth noting that many cases of inflammations and sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, do not always exhibit symptoms, and the diagnosis is often made only through laboratory or clinical examination by a gynecologist.
How often should a woman get checked ?
It is advisable to have an annual check-up. In specific cases, as determined by the doctor, re-examination may be required for something specific, often increasing the frequency from once a year to every six months.
At what age should gynecological check-ups begin ?
From the moment a woman starts sexual activity, it is recommended that check-ups be done on an annual basis, regardless of her age. The first visit to the gynecologist should ideally occur at around the age of 14, even if sexual intercourse has not begun. During this visit, the doctor can address questions the young girl may have about her body and anatomy. Additionally, the gynecologist will provide information on sexually transmitted diseases, risks, precautions to be taken, and contraceptive methods.
What does a gynecological check-up consist of ?
A regular gynecological check-up usually includes a Pap smear test (taking samples from the cervix and vagina), transvaginal ultrasound (to visualize internal reproductive organs), examination of external genitalia, and breast examination.
In women over 40 years old, without personal or family history, digital mammography and breast ultrasound are included.
Examination of the reproductive organs :
We examine the external genitalia, either with the naked eye or using a speculum, to detect any developmental abnormalities, skin lesions (e.g., lichen sclerosus), and sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., genital warts).
Pap Smear Test :
The Pap smear test involves taking samples from the cervix and vagina, which are sent for examination by a Cytologist. This test helps detect possible inflammations and infections in the lower reproductive system. Additionally, the Pap smear contributes to the early detection of lesions caused by the HPV virus, allowing for timely diagnosis of cervical and vaginal dysplasias.
Transvaginal Ultrasound :
With an endovaginal ultrasound probe, a complete visual representation of the uterus, endometrium, and adnexa (ovaries and fallopian tubes) is obtained. During the examination, it is possible to diagnose congenital conditions (e.g., bicornuate uterus), benign conditions (e.g., fibroids, ovarian cysts, hydrosalpinges), and malignant conditions.
Breast Examination :
Breast self-examination is recommended from a young age, starting at around 18. Women should learn how to perform self-examinations, checking their breasts once a month. During the annual gynecological check-up, a breast examination by the gynecologist is essential, taking into account the woman’s age and any issues reported by the patient. For women over 40, digital mammography and breast ultrasound are essential. Depending on individual and family history, women under 40 may also undergo breast ultrasound and digital mammography if deemed necessary by the patient’s history.
During the annual gynecological examination, a discussion with the woman about the examination findings takes place. The diagnosis is explained, and detailed information is provided on treatment and management options.