Why are gynecological checks important?
In most serious diseases, prevention is always the best weapon to detect them early and start the appropriate treatment as soon as possible. In Spain, women are increasingly aware of the importance of having regular gynecological check ups.
Gynecologists affirm that many pathologies of the female genital tract, such as cervical cancer or breast cancer; they do not always show symptoms, or at least they do not appear until they are in very advanced stages of the disease. A late diagnosis leads to higher risks and complications in treatment. It is recommended that annual gynecological check-ups begin at the age of 20, or when women are sexually active.
Annual gynecological exams generally include:
- Smear test or Cytology: performed by the gynecologist during the routine check up. This test can detect the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix, infections and inflammation in the cervix.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound: this high resolution technique allows to check the status of the uterus, ovaries and endometrium. It helps to detect the presence of alterations such as cysts, polyps, fibroids.
- Breast examination: in case the gynecologist detects a lump or something suspicious during the examination, it can be complemented with a breast ultrasound and / or a mammogram. These exams help detect abnormalities in their first phase. If there is no family history of breast cancer, it is normal to start it from the age of 35 (every 2-3 years) and from the age of 40, it will be done annually.
- If the gynecologist considers it necessary, complementary tests such as laboratory tests, vaginal sample, examinations for sexually transmitted infections, HPV, etc. will be performed.
- During the routine ckeck up, before performing the tests, the gynecologist will ask the patients about their family, medical, personal and sexual history.
Apart from the importance of gynecological examinations in the early detection of serious diseases; they are key in the different stages of a woman’s life; to prepare and resolve doubts about the preconception period, contraceptives, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, menopause, etc.