Diagnostic methods depend on the type of gynecology appointment, your age, history, and any symptoms you may be experiencing.
During a typical gynecology screening appointment, they may include:
- Blood and urine tests to check for STIs, kidney or bladder infections, hormone imbalances, or other conditions, as needed
- Pap smear to check for cancer
- Pelvic exams to evaluate the reproductive organs and check for abnormalities
- Ultrasounds or other imaging tests of the lower abdomen
- Physical examination and discussion about any concerns you have related to your family history or medical history
Our women’s health team is highly trained in all gynecological procedures and treatments. We specialize in helping you get back on the road to wellness. Some of the most common treatment options include:
- Cryotherapy, a minimally invasive surgery to treat abnormal cervical cells
- Endometrial ablation to treat abnormally heavy menstrual periods
- Endometrial biopsy to diagnose endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, infections, abnormal bleeding, and endometrial cancer
- Ultrasound scanning of the abdominal cavity and reproductive organs
- Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus
- Intraoperative breast radiotherapy, the application of radiation directly to the site of cancer within the breast during surgery
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to treat cervical dysplasia
- Minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, which describes an operation performed on the female reproductive tract using a few small incisions in the abdomen or through the vagina and cervix
- Major surgeries, such as removing the reproductive organs or removing fibroids from the uterus
Talk to your doctor at Dignity Health about your sexual history, your overall health, and any symptoms you’re experiencing. Your provider will explain the details of any recommended procedures, including what to expect before, during, and after treatment.
Most gynecological screening tests and treatments are minimally invasive and do not require recovery time.
If you undergo surgery, you may need to follow more specific guidelines to ensure a quick and smooth recovery. Minor procedures may need only a few days of recovery, while more extensive operations such as hysterectomy can take several weeks to fully heal.
Your doctor will give you instructions regarding how to keep incision sites or stitches clean and how soon you’ll be able to return to activities like driving, swimming, and exercise.
If you are put under general anesthesia, it is normal to feel more tired than usual for one or two days after surgery. You may also experience mild vaginal bleeding or soreness after procedures like hysteroscopy, cervical or vaginal surgery, or hysterectomy.
You may need to avoid using tampons and abstain from sexual activity involving the vagina for several weeks after the procedure.
How often should I see a gynecologist?
Even if you do not have any reproductive health symptoms, gynecology appointments are an essential and standard part of a regular care regimen.
It is often recommended that women begin attending gynecological appointments during or just before puberty so they can ask questions and learn what to expect.
Over time, regular pelvic exams and Pap smears can address any gynecologic issues as soon as possible so they are easy to treat. A gynecologist can provide support and advice throughout your life, from puberty and sexual health, to a healthy diet and family planning, to menopause and beyond.
Your doctor will recommend how often you should attend appointments, since this varies based on your family history, personal medical history, age, and reproductive history. For most women, an annual exam is sufficient.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.