Our practice is accepting new gynecologic patients for routine and problem visits. An annual visit is recommended for all women who are sexually active or over the age of 21. An annual exam includes height, weight, blood pressure check, breast and pelvic exams, Pap smear if indicated, HPV testing if indicated, sexually transmitted infection screening if requested, and review of current health conditions with an emphasis on preventative care.
We can help manage problems such as vaginal infections, heavy or irregular periods, birth control counseling, pelvic pain, breast lumps, difficulty becoming pregnant, and many other concerns.
We are pleased to offer services to young girls and teenagers. We provide counseling about normal changes in puberty, problems with periods, and sexual health. We offer the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) to all young women ages 9 through 26. Many girls come with a parent for a portion of the visit and often times a pelvic exam is not needed. A common time to come in for a first visit is during the senior year of high school before young women leave home for college.
If you are an established patient, our providers are happy to meet with your daughters or young relatives.
Women's Health Screening Recommendations
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have changed their recommendations about how often women should have a pap test for cervical cancer screening. The most important changes are:
• Women do not need a pap test until they are 21 years old.
• Women ages 21-30 who have a normal pap test and a negative HPV test can be screened every 2 years.
• Women ages 30-70 who have a negative pap test and negative HPV test can be screened every 3 years.
• Women who have had a hysterectomy may not need pap tests, and should speak with their provider.
• All women need an annual gynecology and pelvic exam. The pap smear is only one portion of the full gynecology exam.
Cervical cancer is typically caused by certain high risk strains of the HPV virus. Nearly 80% of all sexually active Americans have been exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. We routinely screen our patients for HPV to determine if you are at a higher risk and need to have annual exams, or if you are at a lower risk and can reduce how frequently your pap test is done. Women who have received the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) should follow the same screening guidelines as the general population, the vaccine does not protect against all sources of cervical cancer, only the most common ones.
It is important for all women to have an annual gynecology exam, even if they don’t need a pap test. Your exam will include a breast exam, and discussion of breast cancer risk to determine if mammogram and/or breast ultrasound is necessary. An abdominal exam is done to evaluate for abdominal masses or enlarged organs. During your pelvic exam your provider will visually examine the external genitals, the vagina, and the cervix for any lesions or abnormalities. A manual exam will then be done to determine size and position of the uterus, screen for masses on the ovaries, and determine if pelvic relaxation is a problem. This is a very important screening that can detect many kinds of cancers and other serious health problems. Patients should not skip this exam simply because they do not need a pap test!
If you have any questions about these guidelines, or what screening tests are appropriate for you, please talk with your healthcare provider.