What to Expect

It’s natural to worry a little before having an exam or test you’ve never had before. When you know what to expect, you know how to prepare. At Banner Health, we want you to feel comfortable and relaxed before any of the women’s health tests we offer.

Women’s Health Screenings

We care about you as a mother, daughter, sister and spouse. Your privacy is our primary concern. Depending on your age, we offer several tests and screenings to check your reproductive and breast health, and your overall well-being, including:

Depending on your results from the tests above, your doctor may recommend you have a breast ultrasound and pelvic ultrasound.

What Can I Expect at a Mammogram?

Preparation for a mammogram is easy. Try to schedule your mammogram for a week or 2 after your period begins to reduce your breast tenderness. Then, follow these notes up to and on the day of your mammogram:

Before the Exam

  • Let our staff know if you have breast implants, may be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding.
  • Wear clothing you can remove easily. You’ll remove clothing and jewelry from the waist up and change into a gown.
  • Don’t wear deodorant, oil, ointment, powder or perfume under your arms or on your breasts the day of your exam.

During the Exam

  • You’ll be positioned in front of the mammogram equipment. Your breast will be squeezed between two plates. Each breast will be positioned and squeezed twice.
  • You’ll hold your breath while images are taken.
  • You may feel discomfort, but it lasts only seconds.
  • This process usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

After the Exam

  • We typically review the results of your mammogram within 1 to 3 days.
  • If everything is normal, we send you a letter with your results and forward a report to your doctor.
  • If we discover a problem, we’ll call you immediately. We’ll also send your doctor a complete report from the radiologist.

Recommended Screening Schedule

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends women ages 50 to 74 have a mammogram every 2 years.

Your doctor may recommend different screening guidelines depending on your personal risk factors. Women at high risk of breast cancer may get a breast MRI each year in addition to a mammogram.

What Can I Expect at a Pelvic Exam & Pap Test?

Only a little preparation is required for a pelvic exam and Pap test.

Before the Exam

  • Avoid having sex or using tampons, douches, vaginal creams, powders, deodorant sprays, or contraceptive foams and jellies for 2 days before your exam.
  • Don’t have a Pap test during your period. Try to schedule it for 10 to 20 days after the first day of your period.

During the Exam

  • You’ll lie back on a table with your knees bent and your feet in stirrups. In a pelvic exam, your provider checks your pelvic area for any problems, and uses a device called a speculum to open your vagina. You may feel slight discomfort.
  • For a Pap test, your provider looks at your cervix and scrapes off cells with a long cotton swab. The cells are tested in a laboratory.

After the Exam

  • You will receive a note advising you of your test results and any follow-up care you may need.

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