Taking care of you, your body, and your reproductive system has never been more important. Whether it’s work, family, friends, or children, other people are counting on you, and depending on you. To put your best foot forward, you have to regularly check in on your health. That’s why we recommend an annual well woman exam with your gynecologist.
If you’ve never had a well woman exam before (or maybe it’s been a few years) there’s no better time than right now to schedule one. Here’s why.
Here’s what you need to know about a well woman exam
A “well woman exam” is also known as a well visit, gynecological exam, pelvic exam, or an annual exam. What happens during a well woman exam really depends on your age, your sexual history, and your medical history. However, regardless of your age, wellness visits are a wonderful opportunity to build a relationship with your doctor or nurse so that you feel comfortable sharing about your emotional and physical wellbeing during the visit. This is the best way to maximize the benefits of your yearly exam.
What to expect during your well woman visit
It’s a good idea to have your first wellness visit between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. This first visit may just be a general physical exam where a medical provider will check your height, weight, and blood pressure and possibly discuss your menstrual cycle with you. This is a good time to bring up any questions you might have, or concerns about how heavy or painful or irregular your period might be each month.
If you’re sexually active, you may even discuss birth control options with your doctor, as well as STD testing. You can also talk to your doctor about potentially getting the HPV vaccine to further protect your health.
Don’t be surprised if your doctor or nurse also asks you a lot of questions about your emotional and physical health, such as whether or not you smoke, drink, have had any illnesses or infection, surgeries, and more. These affect your reproductive health, so it’s important to be honest with your medical provider so they can help you. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, consider switching to a different doctor that you can open up to.
By the age of 21, your well woman exam will also include a:
- Pelvic exam
- Pap test (or a “pap smear”)
- Breast exam
As you age, or as your health changes, your wellness visit might also include a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast). These exams are routine and a great way to keep on top of what’s happening with your vaginal, uterine, and breast health.
Important health benefits of keeping up with your annual visit
By participating in an annual well woman exam, you’re staying on top of your reproductive health and possibly preventing disease, infection, or other complications in the future.
Due to the nature of the wellness visit, your doctor or nurse will be able to spot abnormalities early on that could lead to breast or cervical cancer, test you for STD’s and prescribe you medication if you need it, and help you prepare your body for pregnancy (if that’s what you want!)
It’s so important to put your health first and keep up with your annual exam.
Your health is everything and an annual well woman exam can help you take care of it for many years to come. Make an appointment today and rest easy that you’re doing something great for your body and your future.
Are you looking for a gynecologist and live in San Tan Valley? Let us join you on your unique wellness journey. Book an appointment today!