GYNECOLOGICAL EXAMS IN HOUSTON, TX
Our bodies are complex machines, and they deserve specialized care. Part of our gynecological services at River Oaks Gynecology and Aesthetics are annual gynecological exams for our patients.
Most women know men who only see a doctor seemingly if their leg could need an amputation or if they’re growing a third ear. They wonder why it’s necessary for women, even when they’re still young, to have to go through the yearly visit to a gynecologist.
WHY DO I NEED TO HAVE AN ANNUAL GYNECOLOGICAL EXAM?
Every woman should have a yearly exam performed by a medical provider who has specialized training in gynecology, women’s reproductive health. This hasn’t changed despite the fact that Pap test recommendations have expanded from every year to every 3 to 5 years.
Many of the conditions that affect women’s health, including the human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer, and breast cancer, don’t present symptoms to the patient. But during your yearly OB/GYN exam we can detect these conditions in their earliest stages. That’s when treatment has the highest odds of being successful.
These are the opportunities for you to discuss any issues or questions you may have about these issues, among others:
- Birth control
- Menstrual concerns
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal infections
- Sexual function
- Menopause concerns
- Bone health
- Urinary incontinence
- Breast changes
WHAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN A YEARLY GYNECOLOGICAL EXAM?
Your gynecological exam is kind of like a general physical but tailored specifically to a woman’s body. Every year, we’ll update your family and personal medical history. We’ll check all of your vital signs: blood pressure, heart rate, height, and weight. Your OB/GYN will ask about your periods, pregnancy history, sexual activity, contraception needs, history of any gynecological problems, and any symptoms you’re currently having. We’ll listen to your heart and lungs, feel your thyroid gland, and your abdomen.
You’ll have a breast and pelvic exam. The breast exam checks for lumps or other abnormalities with your breasts. The pelvic exam consists of three parts: an external examination of the vulva, an internal examination of the vagina and cervix with a speculum, and an examination of the uterus and ovaries with a gloved hand. If you’re due for a Pap test, we’ll gently brush your cervix with the speculum to gather cells to send to the lab. The pelvic exam will also focus on any symptoms you may be having.
WILL I HAVE BLOOD TAKEN DURING MY GYNECOLOGICAL EXAM?
It depends on what we are testing. Blood tests can be used to detect STDs and to check for other conditions. Blood tests will also be ordered if it’s time to test your blood sugar, thyroid, and cholesterol levels.
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR MY FIRST GYNECOLOGICAL EXAM?
You should schedule your annual exam during the middle of your menstrual cycle when you are not having your period. For two days before your appointment, you should avoid intercourse, douching, use of vaginal creams or medications, or putting anything (including tampons) in your vagina. This is true for your first and all subsequent gynecological exams.
Your first exam is mostly educational. Your OB/GYN doctor will cover topics such as sexuality, the changes that are and will be happening with your body, and menstruation. This is meant to be a two-way exchange of information, so you should have a list of questions you’d like to ask. It helps to write out the list so you don’t forget anything.
We’ll also go through your family’s medical history. Your mother’s history is especially important.
IS A GYNECOLOGICAL EXAM PAINFUL?
Your pelvic exam will only take a few minutes. Some parts of the exam may be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. If it does hurt, please tell us and we will make things more comfortable. It can be difficult, but it will make it easier if you are able to relax during this exam.
WILL INSURANCE COVER MY GYNECOLOGICAL EXAM?
These yearly exams are considered to be preventive care and are covered by all insurance providers as part of the Affordable Care Act.
WHAT OUR PATIENTS HAVE TO SAY
I really enjoyed my experience at the River Oaks Gynecology & Aesthetics. My wait time was minimal and Dr. Maxie Sprott was very professional and knowledgeable. It felt really good being in the hands of a physician whom i considered to be very proactive. Last but not least, the comfort level of having a female physician who understand female issues was great. ROGA definitely provided world class service and I will definitely be back! -Coco G.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY FIRST OB/GYN EXAM, RATHER THAN USING A FAMILY PEDIATRICIAN?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first visit to a gynecological provider take place between the ages of 13 and 15. This first visit will probably not include a pelvic exam but will be mainly educational in nature.
These will be the areas focused upon:
- Normal development of sex organs
- Developing good habits with eating and nutrition
- Healthy body image and weight management
- Preventing sexually transmitted infections and diseases
- Birth control
- HPV vaccination
- STI/STD testing
Pelvic exams, including a Pap test, start at age 21. This is the case whether or not the woman has become sexually active.