Women’s Seasonal Check-Up
Women’s Seasonal Check-Up
January is the month where we begin our focus on women’s health. Here at Whitefish Family Doctor Medical Clinic, as health care professionals, we like to join in the heightened awareness of specific health issues in the medical community, to help decrease the occurrence of preventable diseases. In the spotlight during January is cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the growth of irregular cells on the cervix typically occurring at a slow rate. Although some cases do tend to grow rapidly, this particular type of cancer can usually be caught and treated at an early stage with proper preventative medicine. Having a yearly physical exam which includes a Pap test can help to catch this cancer before the results are devastating.
HPV, also known as the Human Papillomavirus, is contracted by sexual contact with another individual who is infected. There are several strains of HPV, and not all types have the same end results. HPV is not an uncommon infection and most adults have had a case of this virus during some point in their sexual history. Sometimes this infection can have no known symptoms, during these cases the virus can go unnoticed. Typically these infections can pass without treatment, where others will have serious side effects. Some HPV strains are tied to the growth of genital warts, and in some cases the growth of cervical cancer.
The results of these strains are the reason why women’s well check exams are so very important to aid in the prevention of serious illness.
Most times when cervical cancer is developing there are no known symptoms. On rare occation the irregular cells will result in anomalies which lead to symptoms in the patient. The following could be warning signs that you are experiencing abnormal cell growth on your cervix:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain which occurs during sex
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- Vaginal bleeding that occurs after sex, after menopause has occurred, or at improper intervals during your menstrual cycle such as between periods.
The Pap test is probably the most important part of the pelvic exam which occurs during the women’s well check visit. While conducting the exam your family physician will scrape a small amount of cells from the exterior of your cervix.
These cells will be used as a sample for the lab tests that are run to determine if there are cell abnormalities. If the test results present with irregular growth there will be further testing to assess if the abnormalities are precancerous or cancerous cell growth on the cervix.
If you are experiencing any of the listed symptoms or you are over-due for your women’s well check exam give us a call at Whitefish Family Doctor.
We have a compassionate team who are dedicated to caring for you and keeping you healthy.