When Should You Visit a Gynaecologist?
Once a woman becomes sexually active it is advisable to have a pelvic examination as part of your overall health care. If there are problems before sexual activity then advice should be sought.
At the examination, swabs may be taken and a cervical smear performed according to the cervical screening recommendations. More frequent smears may be done if indicated or if requested.
An internal (vaginal) examination should be done to check all the internal and external pelvic organs, looking for cysts, swellings, tender areas and anything that may not be normal.
You should always see your Gynaecologist if you are experiencing:
- Any unusual and/ or persistent vaginal discharge,
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- On-going pelvic pain
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Painful, uncomfortable sexual intercourse
Yearly PAP smears (up to a certain time after a number of negative smear tests) should be done if there is a history of:
- HPV infection
- Persistent abnormal smears
- Previous surgery for abnormal cells
- History of cervical or uterine cancer
Sadly, the majority of women who have cervical cancer diagnosed have not had a smear in the past 3 to 5 years. The greatest single reason when cervical cancer is diagnosed is that regular smear testing was not done.