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After Hysterectomy, Pelvic Exams Are Still Necessary
If you’re unsure as to whether you still need a pelvic exam after you’ve had a hysterectomy, Michael Leung, MD, FACOG, a board-certified OB/GYN specialist at Kelsey-Seybold, has the answer: “Yes, you should continue seeing your gynecologist for an annual well-woman exam, which includes a pelvic exam.”
Dr. Leung says that well-woman exams remain an important part of a woman’s overall health routine even after a hysterectomy.
“A well-woman exam usually involves a pelvic and breast exam, as well as screening for osteoporosis, and, when relevant, management of menopause and bladder symptoms,” he says. “A referral to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy may also be advised.”
Dr. Leung says pelvic exams allow the doctor to screen for infections and evidence of cancers.
“The pelvic exam may also include a Pap test – a procedure usually performed in a doctor’s office – where a sample of cells is taken from the cervix and examined in a laboratory for abnormalities,” he adds.
Dr. Leung says that Pap screening may be discontinued for women who have had a total hysterectomy – the complete removal of the cervix along with the uterus – for noncancerous reasons, as long as they have no history of abnormal Pap tests.
“Continuing with your annual well-woman exams is a responsible way to help care for your health after menopause or a hysterectomy,” concludes Dr. Leung.
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