Cervical Health Awareness Month: Time to Check Up on Your Reproductive Health
The month of January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, so it is the perfect time to make an appointment with your gynecologist for an annual check-up. Your well-woman check-ups including Pap tests are important for many reasons, and one reason is that they play a critical role in cervical cancer prevention and early detection. Here is a closer look at what is involved in the Pap test and some other important screenings for women’s health.
Pap tests are performed during pelvic exams. The doctor will scrape a small sample of cells from the cervix, and these are tested for any abnormal developments such as infection or cancer. The test can also detect HPV , which is an often symptomless STD that can cause cervical cancer if left untreated. Results from the Pap test will generally be available within a few days of your doctor visit.
If you have abnormal Pap test results or you are experiencing symptoms such as lower abdominal pain and heavy menstruation, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic pelvic ultrasound. This test is performed by a radiologist, and it uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the pelvic organs. Conditions like polyps, fibroids, and endometriosis may be diagnosed through this test.
Your gynecologist may also remind you to check in with your breast health, especially if you are over the age of 40. If you are of this age, you may need your first mammogram to screen for breast cancer. Because breast cancer and cervical cancer are linked to many of the same causes and risk factors, they are both important considerations for your preventive health.
Find the complete women’s care you need including advanced digital imaging at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center. Contact us throughout the month of January for helpful tips on women’s health by visiting our website or calling us at (818) 676-4000.