What Are Gynecological Services and Why Should I Care?

For many women in South Charleston, West Virginia, the word gynecological services conjure up images of pelvic exams and pap smears. While these are indeed part of what goes on in a typical visit to your South Charleston board certified OB-GYN specialist, there is so much more to it than that. For some people, this may be the first time they’ve ever heard about their reproductive system or what happens during an exam. You need to know precisely what will happen on your visit so you can feel prepared and comfortable throughout all stages of your appointment.

Cervical, Ovarian, and Breast Cancer Screenings

Gynecological exams include routine cancer screenings like mammograms and pelvic and breast exams. A Pap (for cervical cancer) and a pelvic and breast exam are performed to look for irregularities that could be early signs of cancer. If you’re sexually active or have been in the past, you should get regular Pap smears to test for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer kills more than 4,000 women in the United States every year. This is one of the most preventable types of cancer if women have regular Pap tests every year beginning at age 18. Breast cancer is also very prevalent, with 1 in 8 women being diagnosed by the time they are 80 years old. Early detection can be critical to successful treatment and survival.

Endometriosis Evaluation and Biopsy

Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological diseases, affecting up to 10% of women. Endometriosis can cause pelvic pain in painful periods, and it may also lead to infertility. The main idea behind this disease is that the cells that line the uterus appear outside or inside the reproductive tract. These extrauterine tissues cause pain and can lead to other health issues.

An endometriosis biopsy can help diagnose this condition and potentially stop it from getting worse. An endometrium is removed and examined under a microscope to see whether or not the cells are normal or if there is an inflammatory process.

Infertility Evaluation and Treatment

If you’re not able to become pregnant after trying for at least one year, seek out your gynecologist. They will perform tests or refer you to a specialist who can help you get to the bottom of the situation. A fertility specialist will run tests, take your medical history, and offer treatment options like intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), or other procedures.

Birth Control Counseling and Prescriptions

Given all of the health risks associated with pregnancy, it is no surprise that birth control can be a significant part of your gynecology appointments. Pregnancy is not the only thing you’ll want to prevent (or seek) in this situation, though.

For younger women or women who haven’t had any children yet, hormonal contraception may help regulate menstrual cycles and minimize painful cramps and other symptoms.

There are many different options for birth control available, including oral contraceptives, implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), vaginal rings, sponges, and patches. To explore all of your birth control options, you will need a prescription from your doctor.

Gynecological services encompass a wide range of care that all women should know. It may include cancer screenings, evaluations for endometriosis and infertility, and counseling on birth control options. If you’re sexually active or have been in the past, it’s crucial to get routine exams to screen for potential health risks. Your gynecologist can also offer treatment options if you’re struggling to become pregnant.