Many women rely on their gynecologist for general health care. We appreciate the confidence you have in us, and since we were trained in an era of being General Providers, there are guidelines for prevention and treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of preventative care offered by gynecologists to help patients maintain their health.
Methods to avoid the occurrence of disease either through eliminating disease agents or increasing resistance to disease. Examples include immunization against disease, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and avoiding smoking.
Methods to detect and address an existing disease prior to the appearance of symptoms. Examples include treatment of hypertension (a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases), cancer screenings.
Methods to reduce the harm of symptomatic diseases, such as disability or death, through rehabilitation and treatment. Examples include surgical procedures that halt the spread or progression of the disease.
Clinical Preventative Care
There are four major types of clinical preventive care: immunizations, screening, behavioral counseling (sometimes referred to as lifestyle changes), and chemoprevention. All four apply throughout the lifespan.
Childhood immunizations to prevent several different diseases determine visit schedules to the pediatrician in the early months of life. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations of adolescent girls and boys have recently been added for prevention of cervical cancer. Adult immunizations include diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (TDaP) as well as vaccinations to prevent influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, hepatitis A and B, and herpes zoster.
Screening is the identification of an asymptomatic disease, harmful condition, or risk factor. Screening tests start in the prenatal period (such as testing for Down syndrome) and continue throughout life (eg, Pap smears, mammography, fasting lipids).
Behavioral Counseling (lifestyle changes)
Behavioral counseling is a method in which clinicians counsel patients to sto`p smoking, eat a prudent diet, drink alcohol moderately, exercise, and engage in safe sexual practices.
Chemoprevention is the use of medications to prevent disease. It is used to prevent disease early in life (e.g., folate during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects and ocular antibiotic prophylaxis in all newborns to prevent neonatal blindness) but is also common in adults (e.g., low-dose aspirin prophylaxis to prevent myocardial infarction, and statins to treat hypercholesterolemia and thus prevent cardiovascular disease).
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!