Not every woman looks forward to her annual well woman exam. In fact, for many women, the yearly visit to the gynecologist can be a source of considerable stress and anxiety. However, undergoing these annual gynecological exams is a vital part of maintaining the best-possible reproductive health and wellness. A well woman exam is the perfect time to ask questions, raise any concerns you may have, and gain a full assessment of the state of your gynecological health. It can also be a great time to receive counseling from your gynecologist about preventive care and what you can do between visits to help promote a healthy reproductive lifestyle. To help better define the specifics, the board-certified gynecologists at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett have taken time to answer some common questions about well woman exams.
Is a well woman exam the same for patients of all ages?
Well woman exams include a series of gynecological screenings, evaluation, counseling, and immunizations that may change depending on the patient’s age. For example, well woman exams for women of all ages include a breast exam, but a mammogram only becomes part of a patient’s annual exams once she has turned 40 unless there is a family history of breast cancer. The intervals for receiving individual services or exams can vary depending on your age as well.
What sexually transmitted infections can be detected during a well-woman exam?
In addition to testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) to see if abnormal cells were detected during a Pap smear, we can test for various other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during your well woman exam. However, STI tests are not typically included unless the patient specifically requests them. If you suspect that you have been exposed to an STI, we highly recommend coming in for a visit as soon as possible instead of waiting for your next well woman exam.
Is there anything patients can do to help prepare for an upcoming well woman exam?
Absolutely. We strongly recommend keeping a running journal to help keep tabs of any changes to your body or reproductive health that you have noticed since your last annual exam. You should also prepare a list of the most important questions you have in advance of your appointment to make sure there is nothing you forget to ask during your well woman exam.
Your annual well woman exam can provide a great opportunity to achieve a more complete understanding of your reproductive health and form a more personal bond with your gynecologist. We highly recommend preparing and taking your well woman exam seriously in order to get the most of your appointment. After all, it only comes once a year. For more information or to request a well woman exam today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on social media for more tips, news, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.