How often should I get a pelvic exam?
A pelvic exam monitors the reproductive and gynecologic health of women, especially those above age 21 or who are sexually active. It’s recommended you get a pelvic exam yearly as it can screen for infection, inflammation, and other abnormal cells that indicate disease. A yearly pelvic exam can catch changes early and help you avoid serious complications down the road.
A pelvic exam often includes a review of your health history, any symptoms or questions you may be experiencing, a breast exam, and an examination of your reproductive organs.
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is usually performed during your annual exam. The doctor uses a small brush or cotton swab to gather a sample of cells from your cervix. Abnormalities in these cells can tell you if you’re at risk of developing, or have already developed, cervical cancer. The test doesn’t hurt, but you might feel slight pressure against your cervix.
What if I have an abnormal Pap smear?
After the cells are collected, they’re sent to a lab for further analysis. If the lab detects abnormalities, you’ll be notified. Abnormalities don’t mean you have cancer, but instead, they may indicate an inflammation that can resolve on its own. You’ll be asked to come in for a 2nd test and more comprehensive exams if your Pap smear shows any abnormalities.
I am sexually active, but don’t want to get pregnant. What are my birth control options?
Contraception can be permanent or temporary. The type you choose depends on your needs and personal preferences. For women who definitely want children in the near future, temporary options may make the most sense. More permanent options, including an IUD, are available for women who want protection for several years. Dr. Gor is happy to discuss the various options with you, including their effectiveness and invasiveness. Oral contraceptives, condoms, the vaginal ring or sponge, diaphragm, and skin patch are some other options. Your age, lifestyle, and previous sexual experience also play a role in your contraception choice.