Good gynecologic care plays a critical role in a woman's overall health. One of the most important gynecology services our Portland, Oregon patients visit us for is the annual exam. This yearly check-up represents our first line of defense in identifying potential problems in the earliest stages. An annual exam is recommended for all women who are sexually active or over the age of 21.
Choose the specialists at Pearl Women's Center for every stage of your life. Ask a question, book online, or call our office in Portland at (503) 771-1883. We serve patients from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Northern California and Alaska.
We recommend that you see us immediately if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Unusual or persistent vaginal discharge or bleeding
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Severe pelvic pain
- Sores, swelling, itching or tenderness of the vulva or vagina
- Growths or thickening in the breast or armpit
What to Expect
At Pearl Women's Center we understand that you may be fearful about gynecologic exams, particularly if it is your first. Please try not to worry. Our staff is here to help make your experience as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
During your exam, a practitioner will spend time discussing your medical history, any issues or problems you are experiencing, and you will have ample opportunity to ask questions. Topics often include sexual function, birth control counseling and preventive care.
Your physical exam includes a comprehensive breast exam and a pelvic exam. A pap smear will be taken to screen for cervical cancer. An HPV test may also be performed. HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus, a common, sexually transmitted virus which can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts.
Depending on your sexual history, lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases may also be performed. Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer may elect to pursue genetic screening for the BRCA gene. Inherited alterations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes have been linked to an increased risk of developing these cancers
Other Important Health Screenings
Genetic Screening. Due to technological advances and new cost efficiencies, screening for genetic predispositions for various cancers is now available as a cost effective general screening tool. For just a few hundred dollars, a woman can screen for every known cancer syndrome. Even in low risk women, as many as 4% of women will find a positive and actionable result that may prevent a future cancer. Ask your Pearl Women's Center practitioner about genetic screening at your next visit.
As we age, our risk of developing certain health concerns increases. Specialized tests can help identify potential problems at their earliest stages when treatment is most effective. Your Pearl Women's Center practitioner may recommend one or more of the following tests depending on your history:
- Osteoporosis screening. Osteoporosis is a disease that robs the body of bone strength making the bones fragile and prone to breaks. Women are four times more likely to develop this disease than men. Postmenopausal women are at the highest risk. A simple, painless screening procedure known as a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) scan is used to measure bone health. If you are over 50 with one or more of the risk factors for osteoporosis, your doctor may refer you for a BMD scan. For more information on risk factors, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation or call the center.
- Breast cancer screening. In addition to the clinical breast exam we conduct during your annual exam, the American Cancer Society recommends a yearly screening mammogram for breast cancer beginning at age 40. New recommendations include the addition of an annual MRI for women at high risk. Your Pearl Women's Center practitioners are experts in breast cancer diagnosis and will help you determine the most appropriate tests for you.
- Genetic Screening. Due to technological advances and new cost efficiencies, screening for genetic predispositions for various cancers is now available as a cost effective general screening tool. For just a few hundred dollars, a woman can screen for every known cancer syndrome. Even in low risk women, as many as 4% of women will find a positive and actionable result that may prevent a future cancer. Ask your Pearl Women's Center practitioner about geneticÂ screening at your next visit.