Routine gynecological visits for screening and physical exams are vital for women of childbearing age. During these visits, your doctor can detect signs of certain diseases while still in their early stages, providing higher chances for successful treatment. Here is what your trusted OB/GYN in San Pedro professionals at Harbor Community Health Centers would like you to know about gynecological exams.

What is the importance of prenatal exams?

Routine prenatal exams are vital in monitoring the development of your baby and detecting possible risks and concerns. Prenatal care ensures that you carry your pregnancy to full term without any complications and deliver safely. Once you receive news that you are pregnant, contact the team at Harbor to schedule your regular prenatal exams. During your appointment, the team may request your urine and blood samples for lab testing. At a certain point in your pregnancy, you may undergo ultrasounds to detect possible risks for complications and close monitoring of your baby’s growth. If there are potential risks, the OB/GYN may recommend that you visit the facility more often for close monitoring. During your prenatal visits, the team may discuss pregnancy precautions with you to ensure you deliver a healthy baby.

When should you have a pap smear?

A pap smear is a cervical screening that detects any signs of cancerous or precancerous cells. The caring team at Harbor Community Health Centers recommends a pap test once every three years for women between 21 and 65. After reaching age 65, you are free to discontinue your routine pap tests if you have no history of cervical cancer. You may also stop your pap tests after undergoing a total hysterectomy, but if you have a history of cervical cancer, your OB/GYN may advise you to continue taking your pap tests. You may consider discussing your options with your OB/GYN to ensure that you are not at risk of developing cervical cancer before discontinuing your tests.  It is also critical for you to undergo routine screenings for HPV (Human papillomavirus). HPV is one of the notorious triggers of precancerous processes that can lead to the development of cervical cancer. Early detection of cervical cancer increases your chances for successful treatment. If your OB/GYN notices abnormal results from your pap smear, he may recommend frequent tests to monitor your condition.

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What should you expect during a gynecological visit?

The team first reviews your medical history to detect any potential risks and overview your general health. Afterward, they may measure your blood pressure and weight to detect any abnormalities. They may also recommend breast exams in conjunction with a pap smear. Your doctor may also conduct a thorough pelvic exam to determine any health concerns that may interfere with your general wellbeing. Your doctor may also provide family planning tips during your visit and advise you on managing symptoms of menopause effectively.

Gynecological problems can rob you of your good days. If you are experiencing any, do not hesitate to call Harbor Community Health Centers or schedule an appointment online.