Common Tests To Diagnose Uterine Issues
Every woman should have a pelvic exam at least once a year. This small action offers the best opportunity to detect and diagnose serious uterine issues early. Be sure to communicate any significant changes to your OB/GYN because not all uterine problems cause pain as a symptom at first. Often unusually heavy periods or irregular bleeding between periods is the first sign of a problem. Your exam and any scheduled tests ordered by your doctor will usually be able to determine the route of your uterine issues.
How Are Uterine Issues Diagnosed?
Conducting a pap smear is your gynecologist’s first diagnostic tool along with your pelvic exam. Pap smears are relatively quick and collect cells from your cervix and vagina to test for abnormalities, infections, cancer and other issues. Pelvic ultrasounds are another common procedure used to diagnose issues with the uterus and other reproductive organs. Your doctor may conduct an abdominal ultrasound or a transvaginal ultrasound, both of which are painless and have their own benefits. Transvaginal ultrasounds are generally preferred for uterine problems because they provide a clearer picture of the endometrium and myometrium and are better at revealing fibroids and tumors.
When simpler tests such as ultrasounds are inconclusive, your OB/GYN may opt to perform a dilation and curettage, also known as a D&C. A D&C is a minor surgical procedure that involves dilation of your cervix and scraping of your uterine lining and contents to help diagnose your uterine issues.
The procedures mentioned above are just some of the many options available to determine the source of any possible problems with your uterus. Your gynecologist will review and suggest the best course of action with you to expedite your diagnosis and treatment.
What Happens After My Diagnosis?
The next steps after your diagnosis will depend on your individual results. Some of the most common reasons for uterine issues include:
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Hormonal imbalance
- Cancer of the uterus or cervix
- Endometrial hyperplasia
- Uterine prolapse
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Depending on the source of your symptoms and ultimate diagnosis, treatment can sometimes be as simple as hormone therapy. Some uterine conditions that are not cancerous can simply be monitored to ensure they do not worsen. Others may necessitate surgical treatments such as a hysterectomy or endometrial ablation. A cancer-related diagnosis is the most serious one, and a doctor who specializes in gynecological cancers likely would oversee your future treatment.
Diagnosing problems with the uterus depends not only on prompt action by your physician but also on you promptly reporting any abnormal symptoms such as unexplained bleeding and pain. When experiencing issues, waiting until an annual exam appointment to report is ill-advised because some problems can escalate quickly. With regards to health care, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Your yearly gynecological exam is important even if you are feeling well and have no symptoms. Looking for an experienced OB/GYN in the Covington, Louisiana, area? Contact Dr. Jill Gibson’s women’s clinic today.
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