OBG(why)N: What are Some of the Most Common Gynecological Tests?
A visit to the gynecologist can be anxiety inducing, even for the most cool-headed among us. Having knowledge of standard procedures and practices will help you feel prepared and hopefully, less nervous.
As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common gynecological tests, when to expect them and what they entail:
A pelvic exam is usually part of your regular checkup, or your doctor might recommend one if you have symptoms like irregular vaginal discharge or pelvic pain. The exam typically lasts only a few minutes during which time your doctor checks your vulva, vagina, cervix, ovaries, uterus, rectum and pelvis for any abnormalities.
The Pap is one of the most regularly performed gynecological tests, often done during a pelvic exam. During the procedure, your doctor collects cells from your cervix to be examined. They will then examine the cells and test for abnormalities, screen for cervical cancer and other problems.
If an abnormality has been found during a routine pelvic exam or Pap smear, you may undergo a cervical biopsy, which is a procedure to remove tissue from the cervix to test for abnormal or precancerous conditions, or cervical cancer.
If you are experiencing abnormal menstrual bleeding, your doctor may recommend an endometrial biopsy to take a small tissue sample from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) for study. This can reveal cell changes linked to hormone levels, or abnormal tissues, such as fibroids or polyps.
A clinical breast exam may be part of your regular checkup, used to check for abnormalities, which could indicate breast cancer and other diseases. These are done along with mammograms and should be augmented with regular breast self-exams.
If you have a breast problem (lump, pain, or discharge from a nipple), your doctor may order a mammogram. A mammogram is a way to look at your breasts using X-rays to find and diagnose breast disease. Additionally, screening tests can look for breast cancers, benign tumors, and cysts before they can be felt.