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Once you reach reproductive age, it is time to take charge of your own gynaecological health. Women have many unique health needs when it comes to their bodies and reproductive system.
That's why it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of gynaecological conditions and when to visit your gynaecologist. Apart from that, regular visits to a gynaecologist for early detection and prevention should also be part of your healthcare routine. Learn more about keeping yourself in good gynaecological health.
From puberty to menopause, a woman's health needs change as her reproductive organs respond to the body’s normal process of sexual activity, pregnancy, ageing, and sometimes to injury or disease.
Gynaecologists specialise in women's health, particularly in relation to a woman's reproductive system. They treat and manage conditions ranging from:
You should visit a gynaecologist annually for a routine checkup and when you have symptoms such as pain in the pelvis, vulva or vagina and abnormal bleeding from the uterus.
During an annual gynaecological visit, your gynaecologist may perform different health screening examinations depending on your age and risk of disease to assess your health.
These may include:
Did you know? Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for women around the world. In Singapore, 1 in 3 women dies from heart disease and stroke.
Women may be affected by gynaecological conditions that affect different parts within a women’s reproductive system.
Here are some of the more common conditions:
Fibroids are non-cancerous muscular growths within the walls of the uterus. They are found in 30% of women of reproductive age, but only 1 in 4 women display symptoms. As a result, they often go undetected.
If left untreated, they can complicate a pregnancy and lead to miscarriage or infertility.
Depending on the size, number of fibroids, age of patient and fertility wishes, management of the condition may differ:
Surgical treatment involves the removal of the fibroids (myomectomy), or removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the ovary and can be benign or malignant. Benign cysts are usually related to menstrual cycle changes. They usually occur without symptoms and resolve on their own.
Complications arise if a cyst grows abnormally large or ruptures, or if numerous small cysts develop on the ovaries, a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Initial treatment involves a wait-and-see approach with monitoring using periodic pelvic ultrasounds. Surgical treatment may involve removal of the cyst while leaving the ovary intact (cystectomy), or removal of the ovary (oophorectomy).
Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells from the inner lining of the womb grow outside the uterus and in the surrounding areas such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and ovarian ligaments.
The tissue releases blood and inflammatory chemicals during menstruation, which results in painful periods that can interfere with daily life. It can lead to infertility or increase your risks of developing ovarian cancer by 2 – 3 times.
Cervical cancer is the 10th most common cancer for women in Singapore. It is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which:
Cervical cancer can be easily prevented through the HPV vaccination (recommended for all girls and women aged 9 – 26) and cervical screening via regular Pap smear and HPV tests. Ask your gynaecologist if the HPV vaccination is suitable for you or your child.
Gynaecological cancers are amongst the top 10 most common cancers affecting women in Singapore today.
These female cancers, including breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers, are highly treatable when detected early. It is important for you to be aware of the early signs and symptoms and to go for regular screenings.