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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.

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