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What's Covered in a Well-Woman Exam?

Aug 12, 2022
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As a woman, you’re probably aware that you’re supposed to be getting regular doctor’s visits. But what, exactly, does a well-woman exam entail? Find out here.

Everyone should be getting regular physicals from their doctor. Just as a house or a car needs periodic maintenance, so does your body. And that’s particularly true if you’re a woman.

That’s why most health experts recommend annual well-woman exams. And here at Glendale Obstetrics and Gynecology in Glendale, Arizona, board-certified OB/GYN Diana Heard, MD, and Olga Vega, PA, can make this yearly to-do as effective and convenient as possible for you. 

Before you schedule your appointment, you might want to know what to expect. So let’s look at the four main components of every well-woman exam

A conversation about your health

To assess your health and help us address anything that needs our attention, we initiate a conversation with you. We ask about how you’ve been feeling lately, if you’ve noticed any aches or pains, and your family health history. 

Note that we say this is a conversation, not a monologue. While we talk with you about your overall wellness, this is also your opportunity to ask any questions you might have. 

If you’ve noticed irregularities in your period or an unexplained symptom, for example, don’t hesitate to bring it up during your well-woman exam. You might want to start a note in your phone of anything you notice so we can talk about it together. 

Since our goal here is to protect your overall health, it’s important that you bring up anything that’s given you pause. 

Support for your wellness goals

We make it a point to use your well-woman exam to provide any support you might need for your wellness goals. We can make a plan for your overall healthy lifestyle, plus specific areas like:

  • Finding the right contraception for you
  • Starting a family (including infertility counseling)
  • Dealing with menopause symptoms
  • Addressing or preventing sexually transmitted diseases
  • Dealing with your mental health
  • Addressing weight loss 
  • Discussing sexual health challenges

Ultimately, we’re here to partner with you to get the care, services, and treatments you need to move in the direction you want.

A physical

We physically check your body to get a picture of your overall health. Your physical generally includes an examination of your:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Reflexes
  • Skin
  • Breasts
  • Pelvis

Those last two exams allow us to be proactive about safeguarding you from women-specific cancers. 

Cancer screenings

In fact, the primary reason that experts recommend annual well-woman exams centers around protecting you from cancer. As a woman, it’s important for you to get screened for specific cancer types based on your age.

With your pelvic exam — and a Pap smear, if you’re due for one — we can look for any signs of pelvic cancer. Similarly, we use your breast exam — including a mammogram, if you’re due for one of those, too — to look for signs of breast cancer. 

The Pap smear specifically allows us to check you for human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. Additionally, if you’re between the ages of 15 and 45, we can also talk with you about the HPV vaccine, which directly reduces your risk for cervical cancer. 

For support for your wellness goals, a proactive approach to defending against cancer, and more, don’t hesitate to schedule your well-woman exam. Call our office or request your appointment online today.

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