Women’s Health Q & A
What Happens During a Well Woman Exam?
A woman’s reproductive system is complex, and as such, it is recommended to have a well woman exam to check on your general health as well as reproductive health. Your exam will consist of a check of your blood pressure, weight, pulse and often a urine sample. After this initial check, sometimes performed by a nurse, your physician will listen to your heart and lungs, check your breasts for any changes or lumps, check your abdominal area for any irregularities, and perform a pelvic exam and Pap smear.
What is a Pap Smear?
The Pap smear, or Pap test, is a separate part of an exam used to check for changes in the cells of a woman’s cervix. The Pap smear can determine if you have an infection, abnormal or unhealthy cervical cells or even cervical cancer. If these early signs of cancer are caught in time the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high. Pap smears also can find infections and abnormal cervical cells that can turn into cancer cells. Getting regular Pap smears is the best thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer.
What is a Mammogram and How is it Done?
A mammogram is an examination of the breast using a low-dose x-ray picture. This makes it easier to find any changes in the breast, no matter how small, to detect cancer as early as possible. It is performed using a mammography machine where one breast is examined at a time. The breast is placed on a clear plastic plate and gently, but firmly, pressed from another plate above her breast. The plates flatten the breast and keep it still, which helps produce a better mammogram image. The plates of the machine are then tilted to take a side view of the breast. This process is repeated on the other breast.