Gynecology preventive care
By Christopher Van Orsdoll, DO
Preventive care helps prevent many medical problems down the road. In the
area of gynecology, it includes a yearly well woman appointment and other
screening exams tailored to the individual needs of the patient.
What is included in an annual exam?
The annual well woman gynecology exam is tailored to the age of the patient
but usually includes a Pap smear, pelvic exam and breast exam. Age related
issues, including contraception, STD education, family planning, menopause,
PMS and other health related issues are also discussed.
A Pap smear is performed by taking a sample of cells from the cervix to
detect abnormal cells or premalignant changes before they become cervical cancer.
A pelvic exam helps to detect abnormalities with the pelvic organs, including
the female genitalia, uterus and the ovaries.
The physician also performs a clinical breast exam. If a lump is felt,
a diagnostic mammogram and/or breast ultrasound will be recommended.
What other screening exams are available?
Pelvic Ultrasound — Performed if there is pelvic pain or an abnormal
finding on the physical exam. A screening pelvic ultrasound may be ordered
if patients have a family history of ovarian cancer, although the practice
is still controversial and not 100% accurate.
DEXA scan — This non-invasive scan provides important information
about bone health, providing findings ranging from normal bone mass to
low bone mass (osteopenia) or severe bone loss (osteoporosis).
Mammograms — Screening mammograms start at age 35 or sooner depending
on family history of breast cancer. Monthly self breast exams at home
are recommended to help prevent breast cancer.
Breast Ultrasound — This test is performed to help detect breast
cysts and distinguish breast cysts from solid breast masses.
Laboratory tests — Patients experiencing moodiness, memory loss,
hair loss or weight fluctuations may be tested for hormone imbalances,
including thyroid testing and testosterone levels.
All results and management options or treatment are discussed with the
patient with the goal of optimizing health and preventing disease.
About Dr. Van Orsdoll:
Dr. Christopher Van Orsdoll is an obstetrician-gynecologist who provides
care at Methodist Women’s Services at 736 North Elm Street in Henderson.
To schedule an appointment, call 270-827-4000.