Gynecological Myths

What's a fact and what is a myth?

The internet is full of great information and advice, with an equal amount of misinformation and not-so-great advice. How do you know what to believe? We’ve consolidated some common gynecologic myths into one blog with an explanation of the facts. Your Capital Women’s Care team is always available to answer questions.

Myth 1: Gynecologic cancer has no symptoms.

Abdominal pressure, swelling, bloating, pelvic discomfort, and abnormal bleeding are some of the common symptoms of gynecologic cancers; however, these are also symptoms of a myriad of other health issues. If these symptoms are frequent and persistent, or are not responding to treatment for other suspected health conditions, it’s important to follow-up with your physician.

Myth 2: Women should have a Pap test every year.

Guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend cervical cancer screening with cytology every three years for women between the ages of 30 and 65. Women with a history of normal results can have a screening with a combination of cytology and HPV testing every five years. USPSTF additionally recommends again cervical cancer screening for women under age 21 or for those over age 65 with a history of normal test results. It is highly recommended that all women have an annual exam with their gynecologist for a checkup, breast exam, and to discuss any health changes or issues.

Myth 3: Pap tests detect all gynecologic cancers and STDs.

Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that can be detected by the Pap test. The Pap test effectively detects pre-cancerous changes to the cervical cells and detects cervical cancer earlier, when it’s highly treatable. If uterine or ovarian cancers are suspected, your physician will perform a pelvic exam or conduct other tests.

Myth 4: Women should worry about breast cancer over other health issues.

While breast cancer certainly is a concern in women’s health, heart disease presents a much higher risk and is the number one killer of women. Keep your heart healthy by exercising, eating healthy meals, not smoking, and managing your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Myth 5: If you have HPV, you will get cervical cancer.

While human papillomavirus (HPV) is present in nearly every case of cervical cancer, it does not mean a woman will develop cervical cancer. In fact, most women will be exposed to the HPV infection at some point in their lives, but only a small percentage of women develop cervical cancer. Many times, HPV will clear up on its own or will be detected in pre-cancerous stages when treatment is highly effective. If the infection persists, abnormal cells can form and turn into cervical cancer. Prevention or early treatment are why the Pap test with HPV screening is highly recommended.

Should you have any concerns about your gynecologic health, your Capital Women’s Care team will be happy to answer any questions.

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The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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