Caring for the Reproductive System
What they are and How it is done
Getting a Physical Exam
Physical Exams are important to monitor all aspects of your health, but often you can receive exams to check for issues and diseases with the reproductive systems. Most of these, especially in women, are not required until you are 20 or more years of age, but any can be performed if needed and can identify many different diseases, and in turn save lives.
Tests for Men
These exams are extremely important, yet can be performed even at home. Testicular Self Exams can catch things like testicular cancer before it becomes a serious issue. This test is often performed by your doctor during physical exams. It is performed by simply feeling each testicle for lumps or abnormal growths. It is best to perform a TSE once a month.
Prostate exams are a blood test done to check for high amounts of prostate-specific antigens, or PSA. Cancerous prostate cells release more PSA into the blood stream, which allows it to be detected through the blood test. However, it is not always accurate as these levels change naturally as well. A digital rectal examination can detect prostate cancer, as well as rectal cancer, and it is done starting at age 40-50. Both of these tests do not need to be performed frequently.
Tests for Women
Mammograms and Breast Exams
Mammograms are X-Rays done to each breast to make sure there aren't any signs breast cancer, while breast exams are are done by your doctor by feeling specific spots in the breasts to find any abnormalities. These tests aren't usually required until a woman is in her 20's as breast problems often don't develop during puberty unless there is a family history of breast problems. Mammograms and Breast exams are performed regularly but not frequently unless complications are found.
Pap Smears are done to find issues with the cervix, and are performed every three years after a woman reaches her 20's. The test is performed by using an instrument called the speculum to slightly widen the vagina, and then your doctor will collect a sample of mucus with a small brush, which is then examined in a lab to find any abnormal cells. These tests are painless but sometimes minor bleeding can occur.