According to the updated recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) women should routinely have a consultation with their obstetrician-gynecologist each year, to conduct certain routine tests and screenings and to obtain certain immunizations.
The recommended tests/screenings for women are given below.
- It is recommended that women aged 19 and above should undergo an abdominal and breast examination each year.
- From the age of 21 years, women should undergo routine pelvic examinations as well.
- Also from the age of 21, women should undergo a yearly pap smear.
- Women who are sexually active should also undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia and also for HIV.
- Additionally, individual risk factors such as smoking, obesity, genetic propensity, nutrition, substance abuse, blood pressure and overall health may require more frequent screening.
The reason that this annual screening is so important is that any issues that a woman has about her overall health, reproductive health, menstrual problems, any unusual symptoms and so on can be discussed and addressed.
Certain warning signs of a health problem could be detected at the screenings, making it possible to nip the potential problem in the bud and preventing it from occurring in the first place.
Also a woman may herself not be able to gauge that there is anything the matter with her, but routine tests and screenings could detect a problem quite early on. An early diagnosis is always the key to effective treatment for any condition.
For instance regular breast exam could mean that any anomaly in the breast tissue, including cysts, lumps and so forth are quickly detected and examined for any possible malignancy.
Similarly early detection of cervical cancer is possible with a pap smear, which is also the best chance that a woman has of recovery.