The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that teenage girls start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. National health organizations say females of any age should consult an OB/GYN if you have any of these signs:
- Pelvic pain or abdominal discomfort
- Bleeding between periods/postmenopausal bleeding
- Missed periods
- Having longer or heavier periods than usual
- Unusual discharge or soreness in the genital area
- Painful intercourse or bleeding after intercourse
- Problems with urination or bowel movements
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Breast skin changes such as irritation, dimpling, redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Breast pain
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk
- A lump in the underarm area
Watch this video to learn more about OB/GYN surgery
- Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire tumor or lesion is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.
- Breast-conserving surgery: An operation to remove the breast cancer but not the breast itself. Types of breast-conserving surgery include lumpectomy (removal of the lump), quadrantectomy (removal of one quarter of the breast) and segmental mastectomy (removal of the cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor).
- Celioscopy: Also called pelvic laparoscopy. Surgical procedure to examine and treat abdominal and pelvic organs. Uses a small surgical viewing instrument called a laparoscope, which is inserted into the abdomen. Can be used in the diagnosis/treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and other conditions.
- Cesarean section: A cesarean section (c-section) is used when a woman cannot deliver a baby vaginally or if a baby is in distress during labor. An incision is made in a woman’s abdomen and her uterus to deliver the baby.
- Cone biopsy: Surgery to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. Cone biopsy may be used to diagnose or treat a cervical condition. Also called conization. Can be used in the diagnosis of cervical cancer.
- Cystectomy: Surgery to remove all or part of the bladder. Can be used in the treatment of bladder cancer.
- Cystoscopy: Examination of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted instrument (called a cystoscope) inserted into the urethra. Tissue samples can be removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present. Can be used in the diagnosis of bladder cancer, urethral cancer, enlarged prostate, incontinence, cystitis and other diseases and conditions.
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): A procedure in which the cervix is expanded enough (dilation) to permit the cervical canal and uterine lining to be scraped with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette (curettage). A D&C may be used to diagnose or treat a number of conditions including uterine bleeding, fibroids and other conditions.
- Ductal lavage: A method used to collect cells from milk ducts in the breast. The cells are looked at under a microscope to check for cancer. A hair-size catheter (tube) is inserted into the nipple. A small amount of salt water flows into the duct and is then removed with the cells in it. Ductal lavage may be used in addition to physical breast examination and mammography to detect breast cancer.
- Endometrial ablation: Procedure done to remove the lining of the uterus. Can be done as an alternative to hysterectomy for treatment of excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: A test that uses an endoscope (a flexible tube inserted into the body) to bounce high-energy sound waves off internal tissues and organs and change the echoes into pictures (sonograms). Also called endosonography.
Hysterectomy: A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. It is the second most frequently performed surgery performed in the U.S. each year. Roughly half of all hysterectomies are done to treat two conditions:
- Endometriosis, a condition is which tissue normally found inside the uterus migrates outside the uterus, leading to excessive bleeding and pain.
- Fibroids or non-malignant growths, when their presence is leading to abnormal uterine bleeding.
A hysterectomy may also be recommended for pelvic inflammatory disease, for chronic pelvic pain, and for uterine and certain other types of cancer. A hysterectomy, in and of itself, does not involve the removal of the ovaries, so it does not necessarily bring about menopause (surgical menopause) unless it is done in conjunction with an oophorectomy, in which the ovaries are removed.
- Hysterosalpingography: An x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes while contrast dye is injected through the cervix. Can be used in the diagnosis of uterine adhesions and fallopian tube obstruction that may be contributing to infertility.
- Intravenous pyelography (IVP): X-ray study of the kidneys, ureters and bladder. The x-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters and bladder on the x-rays.
- Laparoscopy: The insertion of a thin, lighted tube (called a laparoscope) through the abdominal wall to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.
- Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): The removal of tissue using a hot wire loop. Can be used in the diagnosis of cervical cancer.
- Lumpectomy: Surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.
- Lymphadenectomy: A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. Also called lymph node dissection.
- Mastectomy: Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible).
- Myomectomy: Myomectomy is a procedure in which uterine fibroids are surgically removed from the uterus.
- Oophorectomy: Surgical removal of the ovaries, which may be done alone or as part of a hysterectomy. Oophorectomy is often needed when pelvic disease like ovarian cancer is present. It is sometimes recommended when the hormones produced by the ovaries are making a disease such as breast cancer or severe endometriosis worse. In some cases, the ovaries are removed to try to reduce the possibility of developing a future disease, such as ovarian cancer. This is called a prophylactic oophorectomy.
- Ovarian ablation: Surgery, radiation therapy or a drug treatment to stop the functioning of the ovaries. Also called ovarian suppression.
- Pap test: The collection of cells from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect changes that may be cancer or may lead to cancer, and can show noncancerous conditions, such as infection or inflammation. Also called a Pap smear.
- Pelvic laparoscopy: Also called celioscopy. Surgical procedure to examine and treat abdominal and pelvic organs. Uses a small surgical viewing instrument called a laparoscope, which is inserted into the abdomen. Can be used in the diagnosis/treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and other conditions.
- Quadrantectomy: Surgical removal of the region of the breast (approximately one quarter) containing cancer.
- Radical mastectomy: Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, chest muscles and all of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. For many years, this was the operation most used, but it is used now only when the tumor has spread to the chest muscles. Also called the Halsted radical mastectomy.
- Salpinectomy: Surgical removal of one or both fallopian tubes.
- Salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- Transabdominal ultrasound: A procedure used to examine the organs in the abdomen. The ultrasound device is pressed firmly against the skin of the abdomen. Sound waves from the device bounce off tissues and create echoes. A computer uses the echoes to make a picture called a sonogram. Can be used in the monitoring of fetal development during pregnancy. It can also be used for the diagnosis of diseases of the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, ovaries and uterus.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina, and sound waves bounce off organs inside the pelvic area. These sound waves create echoes, which a computer uses to create a picture called a sonogram. Also called TVS. Can be used during pregnancy. Can be used to diagnose urinary conditions, ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids and other conditions.
- Uterine ablation: Procedure done to remove the lining of the uterus. Can be done as an alternative to hysterectomy for treatment of excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE): Also called uterine artery embolization (UAE). Cutting off the blood supply as a way to shrink uterine fibroids.
- Vaginal hysterectomy: Surgical removal of the uterus through the vagina.