Regular Gynaecologic Check-up in Different Age Groups
The female reproductive system should be examined every year without negligence owing to the dynamics of the genital system. A regular check-up helps identify, prevent and treat many on-going health issues as well as new ones that could develop. A gynaecological check may consist of updating your medical history, performing required tests, following up with problems identified in previous check-ups, and tips or guidance provided by your doctor to improve your health further. Annual examinations also give your doctor an opportunity to educate you on preventive measures and immunizations to be taken based on your age and possible risk factors.
Physical examination is an important part of the annual examination. It generally consists of determining your BMI (body mass index), collecting vital signs, palpating the abdomen and lymph nodes, pelvic examination and clinical breast examination.
Annual Examinations at Different Age Groups
Annual examinations usually consist of screening, laboratory tests, evaluation, counselling and immunization.
Ages 13 to 18 years
Between ages 13 to 18 years, the annual examination will involve the following:
- Establish doctor-patient relationship.
- Age appropriate education of anatomy, body image, weight management and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Screening checks for you and your family’s medical history, menstrual and reproductive health, sexual development and history of sexual activities.
- Pelvic examination (includes examining the external genitalia, cervix and vagina), is generally not included unless there is related medical history or presenting symptoms that require further evaluation.
- Regular laboratory tests for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and Hepatitis B and C virus.
- Your doctor will advise you on your sexual health, sexual behaviour, preventing unintended pregnancies and contraceptive use.
- You will be recommended immunization for human papillomavirus (HPV), and Hepatitis A and B vaccine.
Ages 19 to 39 years
Between ages 19 to 39 years, the annual examination will involve the following:
- Reviewing your medical history, menstrual and reproductive health, including sexual practices
- Clinical breast examination every 1 to 3 years from the age of 20
- Pelvic examination from 19 to 20 years if there is any related medical history and periodically if you are above the age of 21
- Laboratory tests such as cervical cytology (detect cancerous changes in the cervix) at age 21 to 29, every 3 years
- Cervical cytology (Pap test) after 30 years of age, every 3 years
- Pap test + HPV after 30 years of age, every 5 years
- Laboratory tests for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV if you are 25 years of age or younger and sexually active
- Colorectal cancer screening and mammography tests in high-risk groups
- Your doctor may discuss sexuality, sexual behaviour, reproductive planning and contraceptive options.
- Your visit will also include genetic counselling, preconception and protection against sexually transmitted infections.
- Your physician will also inform you about the importance of breast self-examination.
- You will be advised to vaccinate yourself against human papilloma virus, and Hepatitis A and B.
Ages 40 to 64 years
Between ages 40 to 64 years, the annual examination will involve the following:
- Screening checks for your medical history, menstrual, and reproductive history, sexual practices and menopausal symptoms
- Annual examination for pelvic prolapse (internal pelvic organ presses against the vagina), clinical breast examination and pelvic examination
- Cervical cytology, every 3 years
- Pap test + HPV, every 5 years
- Colonoscopy (colorectal cancer screening) from age 50, every 10 years
- Laboratory tests for HIV
- Thyroid stimulating hormone test, every 5 years after the age of 45
- Yearly mammography
- Your doctor will advise you regarding sexually transmitted diseases, avoiding unwanted pregnancies, genetic counselling, preconception, hormone therapy, breast self-awareness and prophylaxis for breast cancer.
- You will be advised to vaccinate yourself against Hepatitis A and B.
Ages 65 years and older
Ages 65 years and older, the annual examination will involve the following:
- Screening checks for your medical history, reproductive health and menopausal symptoms
- Annual examination for pelvic prolapse, breast examination and pelvic examinations
- Cervical cytology (can be stopped if prior tests have been negative)
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Yearly mammography
- Thyroid stimulating hormone testing every 5 years
- Laboratory test for HIV
- You will be advised to perform self-breast examination, and discuss about sexually transmitted diseases and sexual behaviours with your doctor.
Regardless of your age, your doctor will also examine your health with respect to nutrition, tobacco, alcohol and drug usage, physical activity and sexual practices.