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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Gynecologist advises women: Minimize your health risks through proper screenings 

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Women’s health is broad and extensive. The differences in hormones, anatomy, and reproductive capabilities make women’s health a unique topic beyond the usual health and wellness standards.

These days, seeing your gynecologist – a specialized doctor in female health and female reproductive system- is more than just a routine medical consultation or breast exam. More so, it is about looking at women’s overall physical, mental well-being, and sexual health.  

HPV vaccination protects preteens (girls and boys) from HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life. 

From childhood to puberty to adulthood, women encounter several health issues that concern their overall well-being. Because of the variety of gender-specific issues, women’s health includes a wide range of specialties and focus areas. Women’s bodies go through major changes throughout their lives, and during these times of physiological changes, women become more vulnerable to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and sexual health issues like fertility and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STD). With a healthy lifestyle, proper screenings, and advice from a health professional, women have the power to take charge of their health.  

Stages of women’s health 

Dr. Angela Du, Manila Doctors Hospital’s OB-Gyne Consultant, identified three factors that define women’s health – menstrual, reproductive, and sexual health. According to Du, a woman goes through life stages based on their reproductive ability – premenarche, or the period in life before menstruation; menarche, or the first occurrence of menstruation usually between 10 years to 15 years old; the woman’s active reproductive years usually from 20 years to 40 years old; and the menopause stage from 50 years old and above. While a female reproductive system’s primary function is to conceive and bear children, it can still contribute to her overall well-being and womanhood. Due to the complexity of the reproductive system, a woman experiences several issues on her menstrual and reproductive health, as well as her sexual health. 

For about two decades of her life, a woman experiences normal occurrence of their menstrual cycle, unless she encounters certain issues and difficulties.  This is also the time when a woman is most active on her sexual activities. “Women on their adolescent years have more active social and sex life, thus their vulnerability to contacting sexually transmitted infections and diseases, like 

the human papillomavirus”, Du said. With more than 100 varieties of the virus, an HPV infection is a viral infection that commonly causes skin or mucous membrane growth (warts). In most cases, it has a direct association with developing cervical cancer. To prevent this, the gynecologist strongly suggested early screening and detection of the virus through HPV testing and getting appropriate doses of HPV vaccine.  

Health screening and prevention 

Xpert HPV, a new and enhanced testing service that detects high-risk HPV DNA with genotyping of HPV 16 and 18/45, produces reliable results that are available in less than a day allowing patients to get diagnosis and treatment faster. Globally, HPV genotypes 16 and 18 are associated with 71 percent of all cervical cancer cases, while HPV genotype 45 is associated with 6 percent.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination to start at age 9 years and have the 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine 6 to 12 months apart. Meanwhile, children aged 9 through 14 years will need their third dose after receiving their first two doses of HPV vaccine in less than 5 months apart. Women from ages 9 through 26 years with weakened immune systems are also recommended for three doses of the vaccine.  

Apart from the HPV test and vaccine, Dr. Du also advised women to undergo Pap Smear, a procedure that also tests cervical cancer in women. It is a routine test that examines cells from the cervix to detect any abnormalities.  

There are several other routine procedures and tests that help maintain a woman’s health. It includes timely health assessments like mammography, colonoscopy, ultrasound, immunizations, among others. Regular visits to your gynecologist and trusted hospital with dedicated facilities and services for obstetrics and gynecology will enable you to be updated on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimize health risks at each age.  

To know more about the Xpert HPV test and HPV vaccine, contact Manila Doctors Hospital’s Bacteriology Section at (02) 8558-0888 local 0642, MDH’s OB-Gyne Complex (OGC) at (02) 8558-0698 or (02) 8525-5481, or message them at facebook.com/maniladoctorshospital.  

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