Comprehensive Gynecology Services in Jackson
Personalized, Compassionate Women’s Health
Regular gynecological exams are a vital part of women’s healthcare.
It is important that you have a skilled gynecologist that you feel open
and comfortable with so that you can communicate all your care needs without
concern. At St. John’s Health, we are committed to building strong
relationships with our patients and working as a team to provide the best
care possible. We want to hear what will make your gynecological visit easier.
Importance of Regular Gynecology Exams
It is recommended that you visit the gynecologist at least once a year
for health screenings. Many gynecological screening procedures do not
need to be done on an annual basis, so you will not necessarily have the
same experience every visit. Most medical professionals agree that annual
pelvic exams are not necessary for healthy women, making annual gynecological
exams less invasive than they used to be.
- Know when to schedule routine health screenings:
General exam – It is good practice to see a gynecologist at least once a year. During
this visit you can discuss reproductive concerns, problems you may have
had, and receive non-invasive screenings for cancer and other conditions.
You should also receive an STD screening if you have been sexually active.
Pelvic exam – Many patients are reluctant to have pelvic exams, but they are an extremely
important tool to catch uterine or ovarian cancer in the early stages.
Historically, gynecologists have recommended patients receive exams once
a year, but now it is generally agreed that healthy women between the
ages of 21 and 39 can wait between 1 to 3 years. Women over 40 should
receive annual exams.
Breast exam – Like pelvic exams, medical professionals have recommended healthy women
between the ages of 25 and 39 should receive a clinical breast exam every
1 to 3 years. From age 40 and up, they should upgrade from physical exams
to mammograms and receive one every 1 to 2 years.
Pap smear – It is a common misconception that Pap smears and pelvic exams are the same
things. The truth is that these are different procedures that inform doctors
on different things. A Pap smear is primarily used for the detection of
cervical cancer. From ages 21 to 29 it is recommended you have a pap smear
every 3 years. As you grow older, your risk of cervical cancer decreases,
and by age 30 many women will only need one every 5 years. If there have
been no abnormalities by age 65, you can likely stop having them entirely.
Not all gynecologists agree on how often patients should receive an exam.
Your recommendations may change based on your doctor and medical history.
Remember that ultimately you have the final say in your healthcare decisions.
Take a doctor’s advice into consideration and agree to exams as
you feel comfortable with them. If any screenings ever show abnormal results,
it is highly recommended you start receiving exams more frequently.