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Thursday, March 1, 2012

THE DOCTORS’ “Girlfriend Gyno Guide”

Going to the gynecologist is probably at the top of every woman’s "least favorite doctors to visit" list, but it is also one of a woman’s most important check-ups. Consider that, this year, more than 15,000 American women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer—the majority of which could have been prevented by having a regular Pap smear.

On Monday, March 5, Dr. Lisa Masterson, board certified specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, infertility, adolescent gynecology and family planning and co-host of the Emmy Award-winning syndicated TV show THE DOCTORS, shares her “girlfriend’s gyno guide” and explains not only what to expect at an OB/GYN appointment but why that five minutes of discomfort is so important.

Girlfriend’s Gyno Guide—What happens at the OB/GYN and Why:

1. Doctor will take patient history.

2. Patient gets in stirrups while the doctor makes the room comfortable for the patient.

3. Doctor will place his/her hand on patient’s thigh and look at the outside – the vulva – for any bumps or lesions. Tip: trimming pubic hair makes the process a bit easier.

4. Doctor warms the speculum and inserts it into the vagina. Speculums come in many different shapes and sizes. If it pinches or feels uncomfortable in any way, tell the doctor and he/she can try a different one. From this vantage point, the doctor is looking for any discharge or visual masses. He/she can also examine the cervix for any lesions, ulcerations or inflammations.

5. Doctor takes a Q-tip to get a culture which can be analyzed to make sure the patient is free of infection and STDs.

6. Once the speculum is taken out, it is time for the pelvic exam. The doctor places two fingers inside the vagina and feels the stomach from the inside, looking for any tenderness or masses on the uterus. Then the fingers slide quickly to the tip of the cervix where the doctor checks for tenderness or masses as well as mobility. The fingers slide over to the ovaries and fallopian tubes to check for masses or tenderness one last time.

7. If a patient is over 40, the doctor will do a rectal exam by placing one finger in the vagina and one finger in the anus, feeling for any masses.

All women need to have an annual Pap smear and pelvic exam beginning at age 21 but should start seeing an OB/GYN between the ages of 13 and 15 to establish a patient-doctor relationship and go over medical and sexual history. From ages 30 to 64, it is okay to go every other year, or as often as your doctor recommends. A patient may be asked to come in more frequently if she has recently had an abnormal Pap smear.

Disclosure: I did not receive any products nor was paid for this post. I was provided info from the PR firm to share. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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