At Columbus OB/GYN, we offer a wide range of comprehensive gynecological services to address your unique needs throughout every stage of life. Our highly skilled and compassionate healthcare providers will ensure that your gynecological exam is conducted with the utmost care and professionalism. Here are some of the key components of our gynecological exams:
During a gynecological exam, our healthcare providers will conduct a thorough physical examination. This includes:
A Pap smear is a screening test used to detect abnormal cervical cells that may indicate the presence of cervical cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. During this test, a small sample of cells is collected from the cervix and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Additionally, we may recommend HPV testing, which helps identify high-risk strains of the human papillomavirus that can lead to cervical cancer.
A Pap smear (or Papanicolaou test) is a screening test to look for abnormal cells on the cervix. This test was developed by Georgios Papanikolaou in the 1940s. During the test, a speculum is used to visualize the cervix. Cells are collected from the cervix using small brushes and examined under a microscope. The Pap test can identify pre-cancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. If these abnormalities are detected, appropriate treatment and follow-up can be initiated.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been identified as the cause of the majority of cases of cervical cancer. There are more than 100 subtypes of the HPV virus. There are low-risk and high-risk subtypes in terms of the risk of going on to develop cervical cancer. HPV infection is very common in sexually active women.
In most infected women, their immune system will fight off and clear the virus in 9-12 months. 60% of cervical cancers are caused by two high-risk subtypes alone, HPV-16 and HPV-18. By screening with a Pap smear and high-risk HPV typing (“co-testing”), women at higher risk for developing abnormal cells on the cervix are identified and will have further evaluation.
Young women between the ages of 21 and 29 are not recommended to do co-testing because of the increased likelihood of HPV infection at this time in life. Clearance rates after infection are high, and screening could result in over-treatment of a condition that will resolve on its own. Instead, Pap smears every three years are recommended until age 30, when co-testing is an option.
Because of the prevalence of HPV, young women are encouraged to consider the HPV vaccination before initiating sexual activity. This vaccination process currently involves three injections given over a six-month time period. Although the series cannot protect against all HPV subtypes, it does protect against the most common high-risk subtypes. The HPV vaccine is currently approved for use in women ages 9-26.
The Pap smear itself is a small portion of the annual exam. It is still recommended that you see your physician yearly. This visit will provide a time for questions, a full physical, and a recommendation for any other recommended preventative health screenings.
As part of our commitment to your reproductive health, we offer comprehensive STI screening during gynecological exams. This may include testing for common infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. Early detection and treatment of STIs are crucial for maintaining sexual health and preventing complications.
If you are in need of contraception or considering changing your current method, our healthcare providers can offer expert guidance and counseling. We will discuss various contraception options, including birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormonal implants, and barrier methods. We will help you choose the most suitable method based on your lifestyle, preferences, and reproductive goals.
For women experiencing menopause or perimenopause, we provide comprehensive care and support. Our healthcare providers can discuss the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and sleep disturbances. We will also provide information about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage menopausal symptoms, should it be appropriate for you.
At Columbus OB/GYN, we are here to provide you with compassionate and comprehensive gynecological care. Whether you require routine screenings, contraception counseling or have specific concerns, our team is dedicated to meeting your individual needs. Contact us today to schedule your gynecological exam and take an important step toward prioritizing your reproductive health.