Gynecology is health care for women. It protects your sexual and reproductive health. Routine gynecological care:
- prevents illness and discomfort
- allows for early detection of cancers of the breast and cervix-when they are more curable
- detects sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIs) and other conditions before they cause serious damage
- prevents sterility
- can make pregnancy and childbirth easier
Staying healthy is important. Whether you're young or old, married or single, sexually active or not, or whether you're lesbian, straight, or bisexual - good gynecological care is the key to staying healthy.
Don't forget to apply for the Texas Women's Health Program to see if you qualify to receive a pap test and free birth control for a year.
How Often You Should Have a Regular GYN Exam
You should have a routine GYN exam every year if you are sexually active or over age 18. You may need to have checkups even more often if you have a:
- history of sexual health problems
- sexually-related illness
- mother or sister who developed breast cancer before menopause
- history of abnormal Pap test results
- breast lump
- or if you plan to become pregnant
The best time to schedule your exam is two weeks after your period.
During the 24 hours prior to your exam, do not douche, have sex, or apply any medications to the cervix. Do not use a tampon. All of these things can cover up important findings of the exam.
If it is your first exam, say so. Ask the clinician to go slowly and explain what is happening.