Preventative Care

Halle Hewitt

Preventative Reproductive Care...

is extremely important when it comes to not only your reproductive health, but your overall health as well. Some diseases of the reproductive system can affect your total health, and it's important to be aware of those diseases and get tested for them so you can continue to live a long and healthy life.

Different Reproductive Tests

Mammograms

Mammograms are like x-rays, and are taken to view an internal image of the breast. The doctor will look for calcifications in the breast, which are tiny mineral deposits that can be caused by cancer. They will also look for masses, and at breast density. Regular mammograms should occur at age 50, if the woman is not at an especially high risk for cancer, and should get them every 2 years.

Pap Smears

Pap Smears are essentially what they sound like. Women will begin getting them around age 21, if there haven't been any previous issues, and will continue to get them every 3 years. A pap smear is done when a doctor gently widens the vagina to obtain mucus and cells from the cervix, and goes to have them tested. A doctor will look for any abnormal cells, and will proceed from there based on their presence or lack thereof.

Testicular Exams

Testicular exams are often done by oneself, and it's not necessary to involve a doctor unless something abnormal is found. You simply examine the testicles, and feel them to make sure that there are no lumps or bumps on them that could indicate testicular cancer. Men should start doing them around age 15, once every month.

Prostate Exams

A prostate exam consists of 2 tests: a PSA test, and a digital rectal exam. A PSA test is a blood test that checks your PSA levels in your blood. PSA is an enzyme that is secreted by the prostate, and odd levels could indicate a greater issue. A digital rectal exam is also performed, in which the doctor will place their fingers into the rectum to locate the prostate and check for abnormalities. Men ages 40 to 70 should get a prostate exam every 4 years.