Why do I need an annual exam?
An annual exam is a yearly test conducted by a gynecologist to check your overall wellness. During an exam, you can expect to provide a blood sample, get a pap test if needed, a breast exam (to look for lumps, skin changes, or discharge), and a pelvic exam (checks for any abnormalities or growths). These exams play a big role in keeping you as healthy as you can be, they can also be life-saving in some cases!
What is a pelvic exam?
A pelvic exam is the physical examination of the internal and external pelvic organs. Throughout each exam, the physician is checking for abnormalities like irritation, cysts, swelling, or redness. A speculum is used so that the doctor can easily see your cervix to assess if there is any atypical discharge or signs of STDs. During the exam, Dr. Gitiforooz, an FACOG board-certified gynecologist, will perform the external genital exam, the bimanual exam, and the pap smear test, if needed.
Breast exams are a simple exam done to ensure there are no lumps, thickening, or discharge. The gynecologist will palpate your breasts to examine for these symptoms. They will also look for differences in size and shape and for any rashes/dimpling. Dimpling is referred to as a physical abnormality in your breasts, which may almost look like dents on your breasts; dimpling can be a common sign of inflammatory breast cancer. It might be suggested that you get a mammogram to have a more detailed look.Dr. Gitiforooz teaches her patients how to accurately check themselves regularly so they can watch for any changes throughout the year.
Pap smears (also referred to as a papanicolaou test) are a test for precancerous or cancerous cells after you have reached the age of 21. During this exam, Dr. Gitiforooz takes a sample of cervical cells which are sent to the lab to test for abnormalities. Pap smears can also help with finding other conditions that you may have such as infections/inflammation. If Dr. Gitiforooz were to find abnormal results in a pap smear test, she would most likely follow up with a more sensitive diagnostic test/procedure in hopes of preventing cervical cancer.
Other Important Information:
Depending on your age, there are different tests that should be performed to make sure your overall health is good. Typically, a woman would have her first gynecology appointment when she either becomes sexually active or turns the age of 21, whichever comes first. It is also recommended that a pap smear be done at the age of 21 to test for precancerous cells. At the age of 30, gynecologists will complete a breast exam and test for HPV along with the pap. Breast exams are done every year. Lastly, at the age of 40, women should get mammograms to be sure there are no signs of early cancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy should still make an appointment for their annual exam! It is important to get a pelvic exam, a breast exam, cervical cancer screening, and other screening tests that may be important for your age group. This provides preventative care for women to ensure they are staying healthy.
Schedule Your Annual Exam Today!
Annual exams are an easy way of staying ahead of possible problems and to ensure you don’t have any precancerous cells or abnormalities in your tests. However, if Dr. Gitiforooz find any abnormalities, she may have you come back into the office to run further labs such as ultrasounds, mammograms, colposcopys, or hysteroscopies. Most of these tests can be completed in any of our three offices Westlake, Lyndhurst, or Middlefield! Attending your annual appointment also builds your relationship with Dr. Gitiforooz, you’ll be able to feel more comfortable and trusting when coming to the gynecologist or asking gyno related questions. Seeing Dr. Gitiforooz every year for your annual will help you feel healthy and cared for, especially as you get older!