Taking preventive healthcare measures like having regular well-woman checks ensures you remain healthy. The check detects symptoms of diseases before they become untreatable.
Preventive health care is usually the best approach to maintaining good health. Most people do not understand this and usually wait until they are down with an illness before contacting their healthcare provider. Thankfully, more women are beginning to take their health seriously and are taking advantage of the well-woman check-ups to maintain their health.
What is a well-woman check?
A well woman check is a preventive healthcare approach. The check helps detect potential health issues in women at an early stage before they cause further damage to the body. Doctors recommend that every woman attends her well-woman check-up at least once a year because some life-threatening conditions do not present any symptoms until the condition becomes untreatable.
Well-woman checks save lives, and it has helped most women avoid certain conditions. It identifies mild symptoms, and the check-up is usually comprehensive and tailor-made to suit every woman, based on her risk factors and age.
In most gynaecology clinics, there are two categories of a well-woman check-up. The first is usually for women below 40 years while the other suits women above 40 years.
What does a well-woman check-up involve?
Your well-woman check-up would involve several tests and examinations.
• Health screen questionnaire
Before your annual check-up, you would likely fill a questionnaire. This gives your healthcare provider an idea about your health. You would also have a consultation with your healthcare provider to discuss certain issues like your periods, and other health issues like bleeding or discharge. The consultation allows you to talk to your healthcare provider about symptoms you experience that give you concern.
• Gynaecology and breast examination
During your check-up, your gynaecologist will check your breast for an abnormal sign like discharge, lumps and unusual skin changes around your breasts. The gynaecology exam will involve you undressing from your waist down, and then you would lie with your back on the examination bed. The gynaecologist will insert a finger or two into your vagina again then place the other hand on your stomach to feel your fallopian tubes and womb.
Doing this will help the gynaecologist know if there are changes in your reproductive system like cysts or lumps. The examination is usually painless, but some people feel slight discomfort.
• Pelvic ultrasound
Your gynaecologist will conduct a pelvic exam on your lower abdomen. This examination is safe, and it is a non-invasive procedure.
First, the gynaecologist will apply a special gel on the lower part of your abdomen. This helps improve the sound wave transmission, and then the gynaecologist will move the transducer around the lower part of your abdomen. During a pelvic ultrasound, your medical expert will see inside your vagina, uterus and fallopian tube then check for any abnormal changes in these organs.
• Blood tests
Your healthcare provider will collect your blood sample and send them off to the lab for testing. They will use the blood sample to run several blood tests that all combine to indicate the state of your health.
The blood test will include tests for vitamin D (ESK 1 profile), glucose check, pre-diabetes check, kidney and liver function check, full blood count to detect conditions like blood cancer, anaemia, immune system disorders and infections.
Well-woman checks for women above 40 years
A lot of women in the UK and worldwide are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Women below 40 years have a reduced risk of having ovarian cancer, and it rarely affects this demographic of women. Findings over the years have shown that as women age, the risk of having ovarian cancer increases significantly.
This creates the need for women above 40 to undergo certain tests to check for signs of ovarian cancer.
Women above 40 years usually undergo all the tests and examinations above in addition to CA 125, which checks for signs of ovarian cancer. The test checks for cysts in the ovary and detects early signs ovarian cancer while they are treatable.
Women who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer at a higher risk of developing the disease and depending on this factor and your medical history, you may need other tests and screenings like fertility screening, STI screening.
The result of your well-woman check-up will include the result of your blood test, detailed explanation of the findings and recommendations.
If you need a well-woman check-up in London, you can book a consultation for your well-woman check-up at Gynaecology Clinic.