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Mother's Day 2023: Expert Explains The Importance Of Regular Gynecological Check-Ups For Women

Mother's day: Gynaecological check-ups are critical in identifying potential problems early before they become severe.

Mothers Day 2023: Expert Explains The Importance Of Regular Gynecological Check-Ups For Women

Many gynaecological conditions are asymptomatic

Prioritizing health should be of utmost importance for women. A balanced diet, regular exercise, mental health and rest are all vital components of good health. However, one of the most important things you can do to maintain your health is to ensure you get regular gynaecological check-ups. Gynaecological check-ups are critical in identifying potential problems early before they become severe.

Many gynaecological conditions are asymptomatic, meaning there may be no noticeable symptoms until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage (ovarian malignancy). Attending regular check-ups can help catch potential issues early and ensure prompt treatment. Cervical cancer screening is one of the most common reasons for women to attend gynaecological check-ups. Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women worldwide. However, with early detection, it is highly treatable. Regular cervical cancer screening tests, such as Pap smears, can detect any changes to the cells in your cervix and help detect any early signs of cervical cancer.

In addition to cervical cancer screening, gynaecological check-ups can also help identify other issues, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Many STIs have no noticeable symptoms, making them difficult to detect without testing. Regular testing is essential, as untreated STIs can lead to severe health issues such as infertility. Gynaecological check-ups are also an opportunity to discuss any concerns in the pubertal, reproductive and perimenopausal and menopausal age group. In the adolescent age group, majority present with obesity and PCOD and also excessive bleeding in the initial phase of menstruation wherein a gynaecologist's role is to educate them regarding the importance of exercise, weight reduction, dietary modifications, and awareness about the long-term effects of PCOD.

It is also important to educate the patient that PCOD is a lifestyle disease and requires lifestyle modification and not a disease that can be resolved by surgical management. In the reproductive age group who present with heavy menstrual bleeding a complete evaluation with history, examination and ultrasound imaging will help detect the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding and will help in providing a focused treatment. In the perimenopausal and menopausal age group, if there is heavy menstrual bleeding without any obvious cause, TVS helps to measure the endometrial thickness and subsequent management depends upon the thickness and this helps to rule out endometrial malignancies, ovarian cyst, or tumors (being/malignant).

Your gynaecologist can provide guidance and support about the contraceptive use to prevent unplanned pregnancy, as well as answer any questions you may have. Finding a gynaecologist, you trust and feel comfortable with is crucial. You should be able to have open and honest discussions with them about any concerns you may have. They should also make you feel comfortable during your exam and take the time to answer any questions you may have.

During a gynaecological exam, your healthcare provider can perform tests for STIs, such as a vaginal swabbing, HPV co-testing and provide treatment if necessary. Regular gynaecological check-ups are also crucial for women who are planning to start a family. Your healthcare provider can help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy by preconceptional counselling which includes glycemic control if diabetic, optimizing blood pressure if hypertensive and switching over to safer drugs if epileptic, including lifestyle changes and any necessary vaccinations.

During pregnancy with the help of a fetal medicine specialist patients have the opportunity to undergo aneuploidy screening, targeted anomaly scan at fifth month, fetal echo in indicated cases to rule out congenital heart disease. During prenatal care, your healthcare provider can monitor your health and the wellbeing of your growing baby to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Lastly, regular gynaecological check-ups can also help detect gynaecological cancers at an early stage when they are most treatable.

In conclusion, regular gynaecological check-ups are essential for maintaining women's reproductive health and overall well-being. By scheduling annual appointments, you can stay on top of your health and address any concerns or questions you may have. Do not let fear or embarrassment hold you back from seeking the care you need and deserve. Remember, your doctor is there to support you and provide you with the best care possible. Make an appointment with your gynaecologist today - it is an investment in your health that will pay off in the long run.

(Dr. Radhamany K, Clinical Professor & Head, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Amrita Hospital, Kochi)

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