Annual Gynecology Exams in Honolulu
Going to the gynecologist isn’t something women eagerly anticipate. The anxiety and discomfort women feel is increased when it’s their first annual exam. There are a few things to keep in mind before having your first annual exam.
How should I prepare for my exam?
The most important thing to do before your first gynecological exam with Ko’olau Women’s Healthcare is research. Women should be prepared to discuss their family medical history and be ready for questions about their menstrual cycle. Some of the most commonly asked questions one of the doctors may ask include:
- When was your last period?
- How long does your period typically last?
- What age did you start your period?
- Are you sexually active?
What should I expect for my annual exam?
The pelvic exam only lasts a few minutes and the exam itself doesn’t hurt. The OBGYNs at Ko’olau Women’s Healthcare will explain the process before beginning the exam, asking questions throughout the process is encouraged. The pelvic exam consists of the following steps:
- Your doctor will typically begin the annual exam with a breast exam to check for lumps that may be a sign of cancer.
- Your physician will then check the external genital area for irritations, cysts or other problems.
- Next, the physician will insert a speculum, which is an instrument that is used to examine the cervix and vaginal walls. During this time, the doctor will also conduct a pap smear to check for cancerous and pre-cancerous cells.
- The last step in the physical exam is for the physician to check the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries by inserting gloved fingers into the vagina and pressing on the abdomen.
Not only does the annual exam ensure that you maintain good gynecological health, but it is also an opportunity for you to catch health problems in the early stages.
Recommendations by the ACS for Cervical Cancer Screening
|Population||Recommended Screening Method|
|Women Younger than 21 Years||No Screening|
|Women Aged 21-29 Years||Cytology alone every 3 years|
|Women Aged 30-65 Years||Human Papillomavirus and cytology co-testing (preferred) every 5 years Cytology alone (acceptable) every three years|
|Women Older than 65 Years||No screening is necessary after adequate negative prior screening results|
|Women Who Underwent Total Hysterectomy||No screening is necessary|
|Women Vaccinated Against HPV||Follow age-specific recommendations (same as unvaccinated women)|
If it’s time to schedule your annual exam, please contact Ko’olau Women’s Healthcare today.