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What Health Conditions Are Screened For During A Women's Health Appointment?

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Men and women are the same in many ways, but women do have some particular health concerns and health needs. As such, it is a good idea to have a women's health appointment with a doctor who specializes in women's health care and gynecology. What kinds of conditions will be screened for during this appointment? Take a look.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is unfortunately common, but most cases are readily treatable if they are detected early. So, at a typical women's health appointment, you will be screened for breast cancer. This is a pretty basic screening; your doctor will palpate your breasts and the area under your armpits for any lumps or abnormal tissue. If they find anything concerning, they'll send you in for additional testing, such as a mammogram. 

Pap Smear

Most women's health appointments also include a pap smear, which is a test that checks for the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix. A pap smear is the initial test for cervical cancer, which is unfortunately common in women. This test is typically done as a part of the internal pelvic exam. The doctor will use a swab to take a sample of cells from the cervix. While the test might be a little uncomfortable, it should not be painful.

Osteoporosis Checks

If you are approaching menopause age or have already entered menopause, your doctor may conduct a bone density scan to check for osteoporosis. This condition involves a weakening of the bones as the body leeches calcium from them. It increases your risk of broken bones. If your bone density is low enough to be concerning, your doctor may prescribe medications to help prevent any additional calcium from being leached from the bones. They may also recommend estrogen supplements, which can help reduce the loss of bone density.

Heart Disease Screening

Heart disease in women is often undiagnosed or diagnosed later than it should be. The symptoms are not always as obvious in women as in men. As such, there has been a recent push to screen for heart disease as a part of women's health appointments. Your doctor may order blood tests to measure your cholesterol levels, and depending on your age, they may also send you for more a stress test or EKG.

As a woman, you are strong and capable, but you do have some health needs that are unique to your sex. Schedule a women's health appointment to make sure you're strong and healthy.