The reproductive age of women begins with the first menstruation and ends with menopause around 48 years old, says Dr. Claudia Del Carpio, gynecologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma. During this stage, the most frequent gynecological pathologies are polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine myomatosis, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain and vaginal infections.
To prevent these pathologies and other diseases, the specialist recommends an annual gynecological check-up, which should include the following tests:
- Annual Pap Smear (PAP test): The purpose of this test is to screen for cervical cancer, indicated for women who have already had sexual intercourse. On the other hand, it is advisable to supplement the PAP with the HPV or Cobas typing test every five years from the age of 30.
- STI screening: An annual screening is recommended in sexually active women, as these diseases can be asymptomatic.
- Breast ultrasound: This is not a routine exam and is usually performed when the patient finds something abnormal in her breasts or on the doctor’s orders. However, our leading specialist recommends having a breast ultrasound at least in an interval of 3 to 5 years from the age of 30, even if there have been no discomfort or abnormal findings.
- Mammography: This preventive exam is recommended annually in women over 40 years of age. However, the age range varies if there is a family history. Mammography is capable of detecting this type of cancer in the initial, non-palpable stages and should never be replaced by ultrasound.
- Uterus and ovaries ultrasound: In women who have already had sexual intercourse, the best way to evaluate the uterus, endometrium and ovaries is with a trans-vaginal ultrasound. These tests allow to detect cysts, fibroids, polyps, adhesions or some other pelvic pathology.
- Bone densitometry: In postmenopausal women it is recommended to include this test every 2 years from the age of 50 and annually from the age of 60. This is because estrogen deficiency at this stage is a risk factor for the appearance of osteoporosis.
From the age of 21, every woman must undergo these gynecological tests annually, in this way, it is possible to treat different diseases in time and even save lives. Preventive exams play an important role in women’s health.
Dr. Claudia Del Carpio
Gynecologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma