Pregnancy testing is performed to determine whether or not a woman has a fertilized embryo in her uterus. The test detects the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadoptropin (hCG) in the body. This hormone is normally only produced when an egg has successfully been fertilized and attaches to the uterine wall. Levels of hCG rise quickly within a matter of days of becoming pregnant.
Pregnancy testing may be conducted using a sample of urine or blood. While tests checking for hCG in the urine may be done either at home or in a doctor’s office, blood tests can only be performed by a doctor. Blood tests are considered the most accurate form of pregnancy testing since they can measure even a very small quantity of hCG. The results of a urine test will be available within minutes, while the results of a blood test may take a few hours or a day to be determined.
If you have taken a home pregnancy test and received a positive result, it is important to visit your doctor for further testing to confirm the pregnancy. If you received a negative result on a home pregnancy test, it is a good idea to take the test one more time several days later because they may not be sensitive enough to register low levels of hCG. Patients who are experiencing typical signs of pregnancy such as fatigue, nausea and breast tenderness should schedule an appointment with their doctor despite a negative result.
Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have no symptoms, especially in women, so it is hard to know if you have been infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are approximately 19 million new STD infections in the United States every year. Periodic testing is recommended for anyone with multiple sexual partners, even if they are having protected sex. It is important to communicate with your partner and ask them if they have or have ever had an STD.
STD testing is not part of a standard physical exam or gynecological checkup. It must be specifically requested. We offer safe and confidential STD testing and treatment. Depending upon the types of STD you need to be tested for, it may require a blood test, urine test, swab sample from your genitals or a tissue sample.
If you are diagnosed with an STD, most can fortunately be treated effectively. Many, however, cannot be cured. Oral or injected antibiotics are prescribed for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis and patients usually respond well. There is no cure for genital warts, but flare-ups can be shortened with antiviral medications. HIV also has no cure but can be treated with a combination of medications. STDs are serious infections that can cause lifelong or recurring symptoms and side effects. It is important to practice safe sex and get tested often.
Cancer Screening (Multiple Blood Tests)
More than one million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer each year. While there is usually no way to prevent cancer, early detection is essential in successfully treating the disease. Regular cancer screenings can help spot any abnormalities or changes that may appear before symptoms do.
We perform various cancer screening blood tests to help reduce the potential damage of these diseases. Some of the most important blood tests to determine the presence of cancer include:
- Complete blood count (CBC). This test is used to measure the quantity of several different kinds of blood cells in your body. Certain types of cancer can be diagnosed through this testing if levels of a particular cell are unusually high or low or if abnormal cells are discovered.
- Blood protein testing. By processing and sorting through the different proteins in the blood, this test can identify whether there are higher numbers of an abnormal immune system protein. If levels are unusually high, it may be an indication of some forms of cancer.
- Tumor marker tests. If a tumor is present in the body, it will often secrete a chemical that ends up in the bloodstream. A tumor marker test will note an elevated presence of these chemicals. However, there are other bodily cells that may produce the same chemicals at times, so tumor marker tests are not always reliable on their own.
These tests can be very successful in detecting early indicators of cancer that can increase the effectiveness of treatment. If any of the results suggest a possible diagnosis of cancer, further testing will be required.
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