“Which type of gynecological examination should I do?” Many women who prioritize their health seem to always ask this question.
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|20 years old
(must do: urine and blood tests)
|25 years old
(must do: cervical screening, breast and pelvic ultrasound)
|40 years old
(must do: cervical screening, breast and pelvic ultrasound)
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|Cervical cytology test||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bone density test||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
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Let your 20 year old, youthful self take a few gynecological tests
1. Standard urine and blood test
Women should always understand themselves and their health conditions. Our recommendations include a few standard gynecological tests which examine cholesterol levels, platelets, urinary, white blood cells, diabetes etc.
2. Breast examination (try this by yourself!)
Regardless if you are sexually active or not, at the end of your monthly menstrual cycle, you should examine your breast. Pay particular attention to the shape and size of them, and observe if there are any changes such as pigmentations and unknown nipple secretion. When you shower, gently press the different areas of your breast to see if there are any lumps.
If at any point of your self-breast examination that you find some abnormalities, we highly recommend that you take a gynecological assessment and seek assistance from medical professionals.
Already an adult! Here are some gynecological examinations that women at the age of 25 and above must do!
1. Cervical screening
- Sexually active women (25-64-year-olds) should take an annual cervical smear.
- Cervical cytology is also known as a pap smear. It requires the extraction of cells for examination-- it is a critical component of many gynecological related examinations.
- Not only can a pap smear track the condition of cervical cancer, but it can also detect other possible gynecological diseases (e.g. if your pap smear result is inflamed, then it is an indication of a few potential illnesses that will need immediate medical attention). Find out early to receive the most effective and appropriate treatment!
- Things to do before and after your pap smear examination
- 1-2 days after your test, your vagina may release a small amount of blood-- this is a normal, temporary side effect. However, if you continue to bleed and is increasing in amount, we highly recommend that you seek a doctor’s assistance.
2. Breast examination - Breast Ultrasound
- Besides conducting your monthly self-breast examination, women should also take a clinical examination.
- Because women below 35 have a relatively high breast tissue density, when undergoing X-ray, the images produced would be unclear (i.e. lower accuracy). However, those in this age bracket may want to consider using an ultrasound scan.
- How it works: The ultrasound machine will release high-frequency soundwaves at areas of high breast tissue density. The image will be produced once the projected soundwaves bounce back. Essentially, this technology can allow your doctor to see the inner breast condition much more clearly.
3. Pelvic ultrasound (uterus, ovary, bladder)
Another must-do gynecological assessment is the pelvis ultrasound!
According to Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society’s 2015 data, endometrial cancer placed 4th on the list of top 10 leading causes of death, followed by ovarian and cervical cancer, with a ranking of 6 and 7 respectively.
- Pelvic ultrasound screenings have a high degree of accuracy. It can monitor the condition of your uterus and ovaries. Not only that, it can check if you have uterine fibroids, endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cysts or ovarian cancer.
- If you are experiencing heavy menstrual flow or have lumps in your abdomen area, then we highly recommend that you take a pelvic examination.
- Ovarian ultrasound screenings are not often taken because most women often glance over this type of assessment. However, this test is extremely important because over half the ovarian cancer patients only find out when it has progressed to stage 3 or 4. This is why it is crucial to take annual pelvic ultrasound tests!
For 40 year olds women who take very good care of themselves: Here are the various gynecological assessments that you should consider:
1. Breast examination - Mammogram
- Women of the age of 40 and above should take a clinical examination. Breast X-rays and mammograms can detect breast cancer at an early stage.
- Breast ultrasound can only detect formed tumors. However, mammograms are relatively more useful because they can examine abnormalities that are not identifiable via a regular ultrasound test. By using a mammogram, you can develop an understanding of your breast condition at an earlier stage and receive appropriate treatment if needed.
2. Osteoporosis - DEXA bone density examination
- For those who are close to their 40s may start to realize that the bone condition is slowly deteriorating. In fact, most patients find out that they have osteoporosis once they have broken their bones in an accident. This is why we highly recommend you to take bone-related examinations (on top of your existing gynecological body screening assessments).
- Gynecological examination often has a DEXA bone density examination. It can easily detect your bone density levels quickly and accurately. The results can be generated any time between 10-15 minutes!
- Once you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis (i.e. high risk of bone fracture), proper treatment can be provided to prevent it from further impacting your daily life.
According to the Hong Kong Cancer data (2014) released by the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, colorectal cancer and the various types of gynecological cancer are becoming more and more prevalent. In the past ten years, the number of breast cancer cases has increased by 70%.
You may feel settled, but please realize that:
- One in sixteen women will develop breast cancer. On average, ten women are diagnosed with this disease each day-- the youngest patient is less than 20 years old!
- Three in ten women will develop uterine fibroids. In 2015, there were 500 cases of uterine cancer (symptoms include: vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain).
- Your bone will deteriorate once you reach the age of 35. One in three women will develop osteoporosis, and because this can easily cause bone fractures, one accident may cause disabilities (30% of patients) and even death!
This is why women should see what assessments they should take and to take them annually!
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