A well-woman exam is a visit with your gynecologist that takes place once per year. This exam is typically covered by health insurance plans as a type of preventive care. Once a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it is important to start making these annual appointments in order to maintain good reproductive health.
The well-woman visit is designed to cover every aspect of physical health related to your reproductive organs, as well as related health issues such as safe sexual activities and the monitoring reproductive health problems.
What a Well-Woman Visit Entails
A well-woman visit includes a height, weight, and blood pressure check. Our gynecologist will ask about the date of your last menstrual period, if you have pre-menstrual syndrome, and the frequency and duration of your menstrual cycles. An important part of the well-woman exam is a pelvic exam. Our gynecologist locates the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. A pap smear is performed in order to check for abnormal changes in the cervix and to collect a cell sample that will be sent to a pathologist and checked for signs of cervical cancer.
Our gynecologist also performs a breast exam and can teach you how to perform one regularly in order to check for changes. We will also answer any questions that you have about reproductive health, menstrual problems, and breast health issues during this exam.
Many women find that talking with the gynecologist is helpful when it comes to sexual relationships, sexual dysfunction, and libido problems. If you are in a domestic violence situation, our doctor can make referrals for services that will help. And if you are planning to get pregnant, your doctor will provide advice about conceiving and offer directions you can follow to stay healthy.
Who Needs a Well-Woman Visit?
A well-woman visit is important for every part of your reproductive health. The screening tests are used to check you for pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions that often have no other symptoms. A well-woman check is also useful if you have had a difficult time getting pregnant. If you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted infection, the necessary exam and testing can be done to make a diagnosis. If you have found a lump in your breast, it can be confirmed by our gynecologist during this visit, and our doctor can send you for additional testing if needed.
Once a woman reaches puberty and has had her first period, it is a good idea to start scheduling well-woman exams. You do not have to be sexually active to have an annual pelvic exam, pap smear, and breast exam. These early exams are important for getting a baseline of your overall reproductive health.
Well-woman exams are used throughout your adult years as a way to monitor your reproductive organs and overall health. After you reach menopause, well-woman exams continue to be important for monitoring your hormone balance. The exams can detect uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer, which have increased incidence as you age.