Gynecological services are an essential part of a woman's healthcare journey. From adolescence to menopause, women require specific care to maintain their reproductive health. These are some of the various gynecological services that women may need throughout their lives.
Annual Gynecological Exams
The most regular gynecological service that women should receive is an annual exam. During an annual exam, a healthcare provider will usually perform a physical examination, including a breast exam, and a pelvic exam.
The pelvic exam typically involves a Pap smear, which is a test used to detect cervical cancer. The healthcare provider will also check for signs of other reproductive health issues, such as ovarian cysts or fibroids.
Many women also need contraception during their childbearing years. There are several different types of birth control options available, including hormonal methods, barrier methods, and long-acting methods—such as IUDs (intrauterine devices) and contraceptive implants.
A healthcare provider can help a woman choose the best contraception method for her based on her individual needs and preferences. Age, overall health, specific conditions, and future family plans might influence a provider's contraceptive recommendation.
For women who are pregnant, specialized gynecological services are available. Women normally see an OB/GYN or midwife several times during the course of their pregnancy, including at the time of birth. Most providers also have at least one follow-up appointment.
Pregnancy care encompasses prenatal care, which includes regular checkups and screenings to ensure that both the mother and the baby are healthy. Other possibly needed services are ultrasound, amniocentesis, and other tests to monitor the pregnancy and detect any potential complications.
As women age out of childbearing years, they experience menopause, which is the natural end of a woman's reproductive years. Menopause can cause a variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. To manage these symptoms, a healthcare provider may recommend hormone therapy, which can help to balance out the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. A course of menopause treatment might change as women progress through this stage.
Other Gynecological Services
Other gynecological services that women may need include treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). STIs are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites and can be treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications. PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs, and it is usually caused by an untreated STI. Treatment may include antibiotics, and in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Contact a local gynecology service to learn more.