Header image courtesy of Matilda International Hospital
Despite a rising awareness surrounding shared familial responsibilities and the gender gap, women continue to make up the majority of primary caregivers. But when the primary caregiver is busy caring for others, what about concerns for their own health?
Women’s health is a subsection under regular check-ups with tests designed specifically for a woman’s body. On top of standard procedures you would expect from a body check-up, like blood tests, women’s health check-ups also feature scans that detect early onsets of medical conditions, such as cervical and breast cancer.
To remain at peak health, Matilda International Hospital, a private healthcare service provider located on Victoria Peak, recommends getting a comprehensive health check annually or every two to three years, depending on your age. We asked the doctors at Matilda for their knowledge on everything you need to know about women’s health.
A women’s health check-up involves screenings that should be conducted on a regular basis, which can detect any early onset of disease. Breast cancer is one such example; as the most common type of cancer for women, all women over the age of 44 are recommended to consider breast screening via a mammogram. It allows the physicians to see if a patient has abnormal tissue changes or lumps, which are signs of breast cancer.
Those with personalised risk factors—such as nulliparity, the presence of a history of breast cancer among first-degree relatives, and prior diagnosis of benign breast disease—should conduct mammography screenings every two years. However, if you should perceive anything as abnormal, then you should contact a doctor for advice on whether a physical examination or a breast imaging or scan is needed.
Another standard screening is the pap smear, which checks for your cervical health. The Hong Kong Department of Health recommends for people aged 25 and upwards with sexual experience to schedule regular pap smears once every three years.
During this procedure, a physician will carefully remove cells from the cervix with a small brush and have the cells checked for any abnormal changes that may indicate cervical cancer, infections, or inflammation. It may sound invasive, but a check-up keeps you safe from complications down the line, and you shouldn’t feel anything more than a pinch.
Ultrasounds play an important role in a health check-up. When women go through a pelvic ultrasound, it allows for a quick, non-invasive look at a woman’s pelvic organs and tissue, such as the uterus, ovaries, and cervix. Those who are ticklish should be mentally prepared, but otherwise, you should not feel any discomfort during the procedure.
Like many medical check-ups, women’s health check procedures include drawing blood for lab tests. While this is not everyone’s favourite part of a check-up, it is an important step, as it yields results that show what is going on inside your body on a more detailed level.
A typical women’s health check-up would involve testing for anaemia, liver function, renal (kidney) function, and more, depending on the programme. At Matilda International Hospital, women’s health check-ups also include tests for blood sugar, cholesterol (also called a lipid profile test), and urinalysis, as well as a general health check, which includes baseline blood pressure, body weight, BMI, and reviews for past medical history. A full STD (sexually transmitted disease) test is also available upon request.
We’ve all heard of the HPV vaccine, something that every child over the age of nine should receive, but what exactly is it? The HPV vaccine prevents the body from contracting the human papillomavirus, a series of viruses acquired through sexual skin-to-skin contact.
HPV can affect both men and women—the virus is found in more than 99 percent of cervical cancer. It is also linked to cancers in the vulva, vagina, anus, and oropharynx, and can also lead to genital warts, penile cancer, and anal cancer in men. HPV screenings should be considered for women aged 30 and onwards, as part of cervical cancer screening. Still, the vaccine is the best way to prevent contracting and passing on HPV once someone becomes sexually active.
Unsure what examinations to get? Matilda International Hospital has you covered with four women’s health assessment programmes in two locations—the Peak and the downtown clinic in Central—which include a head-to-toe examination of baseline parameters, a vision check, and a full physical examination.
Well Woman Lite offers preliminary tests for a woman’s general well-being, including breast and pelvic examinations, blood tests, urinalysis, and pap smear.
Suppose you’re looking for ways to improve your lifestyle. In that case, Well Woman adds to those procedures with advice on common women’s health issues, such as family planning, as well as a 2D mammogram (for those over 44 years old) or breast ultrasound.
If you’d like a more extensive investigation of what’s going on in your body, check out Well Woman Plus, which is the most comprehensive women’s health assessment that Matilda Medical Centre has to offer. The programme has everything we’ve mentioned above, plus an upper abdominal ultrasound, tests for Hepatitis A & B, thyroid function, and more.
For something a little more extensive, head to Matilda International Hospital at the Peak for Well Woman Premium. On top of everything we’ve mentioned, the plan also includes procedures such as a DEXA bone scan and testing for hormones and tumour markers. As a cherry on top, the package comes with a private room, where you can enjoy a fantastic sea view and a complimentary deluxe breakfast after your check-up.
For your next women’s health check-up, you’ll be in safe hands at Matilda International Hospital. As one of Hong Kong’s best private hospitals, Matilda is known for its range of comprehensive women’s health assessments, as well as its specialised wards for maternity, orthopaedics, surgery, and ear, nose, and throat. Matilda’s newly developed facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, and treatments from the top specialists in Hong Kong ensure that you receive the best care available during your visit.
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