It is important to participate in regular health screenings because screenings are designed to detect the presence of a disease. By getting screened regularly, your doctor may be able to catch a disease in the early stages. Catching a disease in the early stages has a better chance of recovery than in the later stages, so make appointments with your doctor regularly. It could save your life.
For women, it is important to schedule regular visits to see a gynecologist. Most health providers agree that a female should have their first pelvic exam in the first few years after becoming sexually active, or when they turn 21, which ever comes first. Yearly visits are important to be sure everything is developing normally, to prevent pregnancy or infection, or to deal with a problem such as missed periods, signs of pain, or signs of infection.
What does Beu Health Center offer regarding Women's Health?
Nurse practitioners provide a full range of services in a safe, confidential and caring environment. An experienced and knowledgable team of health care providers consists of women caring for women.
Our specialized services include:
- Well-women care
- Annual exams
- Pap tests and follow-up
- Breast exams
- Pregnancy testing
- Infection testing and treatment
- Emergency contraception
- Sexual health education
- Self-exam techniques
- Menopause issues
- Care and treatment for menstrual disorders
To schedule an appointment, call (309) 298-1888 between the hours of 8:00am-4:30pm.
What to expect when you are scheduling an exam:
Annual Gynecological Exam: An annual exam consists of a general physical exam (including a breast exam), update of life and work situation and family history, review of your health history, update of current medications, herbs, and supplements, the need for medication refills, evaluation of need for health screening tests based on age and personal and family history, and an update on immunizations. Annual exam is required if using birth control medication.
Pap Test: Also known as a pap smear, the pap test checks for changes in the cells of the cervix. This test can detect an infection, abnormal cervical cells and cervical cancer. If caught early, the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high.
Mammogram: A mammogram is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. This procedure takes about 15 minutes, and during this time an X-ray is taken of each compressed breast. A mammogram is used to detect changes in the skin, clusters of calcium or signs of breast cancer that are too small to be detected during a clinical breast exam.
Breast Self Exam: When breast cancer is detected early, it has the best chances of being cured. Examining your breasts is an important way to find breast cancer at its early stages. Not every cancer can be found by a breast self-exam, but it is important to know your body, so you are able to notice changes that should be checked out by a doctor. Breast self-exams should be done once per month, a few days after your period ends when your breasts are least likely to be tender and swollen.
Clinical Breast Exam: A clinical breast exam is a visual and physical examination of the breasts done by a health care provider. The exams involve checking the look and feel of the breasts and underarm for any changes.
STI Screening: For sexually active females under the age of 25, it is recommended they have an annual STI screening, because of the high incidence of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia at this age. When you are at your annual exam, ask your health provider if they conduct regular STI screenings when the pap smear is done.Additional cost will be assessed.
Source: IUPUI Health Service
Cervical cancer screening guidelines in the US are issued by three major organizations: the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Guidelines issued by these groups since 2002 are specific with respect to starting age, stopping age, screening frequency and groups for whom the standard recommendations do not apply. A US survey of clinician's responses to screening vignettes, however, indicated that fewer than 25 percent would recommend screening consistent with the care agreed upon by all the guidelines; choices representing overuse were most frequent.
Starting Age: All three organizations strongly recommend screening for cervical cancer. 2009 ACOG guidelines recommend initiating screening at age 21; older guidelines from the USPSTF and ACS recommend initiating screening at age 21or three years after the onset of sexual activity, whichever comes first.
Frequency: The USPSTF recommends screening at least every three years; ACS advocates annual screening (biennial if using liquid based testing) and ACOG biennial for women under age 30 and reducing the frequency to every two to three years for women aged 30 and older who have had three consecutive normal Pap tests, or no more than every three years if they also are tested for HPV DNA.
ACS specifies certain risk groups that may require more frequent screening: HIV infection, immunosuppression, or in utero DES exposure. ACOG recommends annual screening for women who have been treated in the past for CIN2, CIN3 or cervical cancer.
We suggest initiating Pap smear screening at intervals of every one to two years for average risk women less than 30 years old, lengthening the screening interval to three years for average risk women at age 30 after three consecutive negative smears. Alternatively, average risk women age 30 years and older may be screened with a combination of Pap smear and HPV testing at intervals no more frequently than every three years if both initial tests are negative. Women with increased risk for cervical cancer (eg a history of DES exposure, CIN II/III or cervical cancer, HIV infection or otherwise immunosuppressed) should have more frequent screenings.