Well Woman Exam Q & A
What is a well-woman exam?
Well-woman exams are part of routine gynecological care for all women starting during late adolescence. These visits are like annual physical exams, but they focus on your sexual and reproductive health.
During a well-woman exam, you visit with the team at Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology about the past year of your sexual health, menstruation, and other topics. Your visit can address:
- New or pre-existing conditions (e.g., endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- Birth control
- Breast health
You may ask as many questions as you’d like about sexual health and reproductive health during your well-woman exam at Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology. The team is non-judgmental, open-minded, and knowledgeable about these topics and offers detailed answers or advice.
What are the steps of a well-woman exam?
Once you’ve come in for a few well-woman exams during adolescence or adulthood, you soon know exactly what you can expect at every visit after that. Some tests are not a part of every visit but instead happen every few years or as needed. Others are a part of every well-woman exam.
At a well-woman exam visit to Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology, you can expect a:
Pelvic exams are a key part of every well-woman exam visit. Your gynecologist examines the external vulva and labia before widening your vagina with a speculum for an inside view. They examine the internal structures for indications of a disease or infection, which may include redness, swelling, or growths.
Pap smears happen every 3-5 years, often starting in your early to mid-twenties, though your provider might recommend a different schedule for them according to your risks. It is a test for unusual cell changes in the cervix. Your gynecologist collects a swab sample of cells from the cervix and tests them in a lab.
Breast exams are a part of every well-woman visit. Your provider checks your breast for lumps. After age 40, you should also get yearly mammograms, which are X-rays for your breasts.
Other possible parts of your well-woman exam that you might need are STD tests, pregnancy tests, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
How often do I need to get well-woman exams?
Young teens should have their first gynecological wellness visit between ages 13 and 15. These early visits are a bit different from later visits and do not always include pelvic exams. They can talk to the team at Heartfelt Obstetrics & Gynecology about concerns with periods, sexuality, and hormones, and get advice on getting the HPV vaccine.
Starting at least at age 21 and thereafter, women should have a well-woman visit yearly to monitor health and catch any problems early on. These visits do include a pelvic exam and testing as needed.
To schedule your next well-woman exam, call Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology, or request an appointment online today.