Well Woman Exams Q & A:
What is a well-woman exam?
Well-woman exams are an essential part of your preventive health strategy. These exams are an opportunity for you to take charge of your health. A well-woman exam helps detect and prevent serious medical conditions like cancer and provides you with an opportunity to address any concerns about your sexual or reproductive health.
When should I have a well-woman exam?
Adolescent girls should have their first well-woman exam around age 13-15. This first visit may only include a physical exam and discussion about her menstrual cycles. After that, well-woman exams should continue every year, which is why they’re also called annual exams.
What should I expect from a well-woman exam?
What happens during a well-woman exam depends on your age, medical history, and risk factors for diseases. Your provider at Advanced Women’s Healthcare tailors your visit to your unique needs.
Younger girls usually don’t need pelvic exams or Pap tests. These exams typically begin around age 21, along with breast exams. Later in life, you may also need mammograms and colonoscopies. These tests screen for cancer and may ultimately save your life.
At all ages, well-woman visits include a physical exam and review of your medical history. Your provider at Advanced Women’s Healthcare asks questions about your lifestyle habits, like diet and exercise, and your menstrual cycles. If you’re sexually active, they may also talk about birth control and STD testing.
Please see our Patient Forms section for screening forms to take with you to your appointment, if applicable.
What happens during a Pap test?
It’s normal to feel nervous about your first Pap test, but the compassionate providers at Advanced Women’s Healthcare help you feel as comfortable as possible. The more you can relax during this quick and painless test, the easier it will be.
A Pap test usually occurs during a pelvic exam, when you’re lying on your back with feet elevated in supports. Your provider inserts a speculum into your vagina and gently spreads the vaginal walls to view the base of your uterus (cervix).
Then, they quickly swab your cervix to collect a sample of cells, which they send to a lab for analysis. The lab checks for abnormal changes to your cervical cells that may be precancerous.
Pap tests only take a few minutes and play a critical role in preventing cervical cancer.
To schedule your well-woman exam, call Advanced Women’s Healthcare.