At JW Family Medicine in Fulshear, TX, we value women’s health exams for two reasons. The first is that they allow us to find problems before they start, and the second is that they help us find them in their early stages. Both of these lead to better outcomes and easier treatments.
A women’s health exam has many of the elements of a regular check-up, in addition to a few more steps. At JW Family Medicine, our practitioners have plenty of experience performing these exams, and we encounter them several times a week. Our goal is to keep you in perfect shape.
The pelvic exam is an essential part of a women’s health visit. It helps us assess your internal organs like the cervix, uterus, and adnexa (fallopian tubes and ovaries) through inspection and palpation. The findings of a pelvic exam aren’t highly specific. This means we can’t always tell from the exam what the problem is exactly. Its value is that it gives us an indication of whether or not everything is normal.
Finding bleeding, masses, or an irregular uterus could mean that something’s wrong. If that’s the case, then more tests and investigations will be warranted.
The pap smear checks for cervical cancer. Women are advised to start screening at the age of 21. If you continue to have negative pap smears throughout your life, then screening can stop at the age of 65. Any ulcers or masses will need to be investigated more thoroughly using colposcopy or other measures.
Women need to be aware of the risk of breast cancer and make sure to get screened using mammograms starting the age of 40. Clinical breast exams are also valuable, but positive findings don’t always mean cancer.
In young women, a mobile and non-tender mass is most likely a fibroadenoma, which is completely benign. Worrying signs include a fixed mass that’s growing in size. The important thing is to know that not all findings of a breast exam automatically translate to cancer or malignancy.