The annual well woman exam is the perfect time for women to reconnect with their gynecologist and establish a clear picture of the state of their overall reproductive health. But as a woman’s body and gynecological health change as the years go on, so do the components of her annual exam. Although all well woman exams involve in-depth discussions on a variety of topics relating to a woman’s health and wellness, certain examinations and other components of the visit can fluctuate as a woman ages. To help explain what women can expect from their annual visit, our board-certified gynecologists has provided this outline for the components of a well woman exam for the following age ranges.
Females Between Ages 14 – 18
Although it’s common for women not to begin their well woman exams until they have turned 18, we may recommend starting as young as age 14 in cases where there is a history of certain female health issues or underlying conditions not typically handled by a pediatrician. Additionally, if a woman has become sexually active before age 18, it may also be appropriate to begin well woman exams sooner. This may include a pelvic exam, tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted diseases), and a human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization.
Women Between Ages 19 – 39
For women between 19 – 39, a well woman exam might include an HPV immunization, however this is only available until age 26. In addition to a pelvic exam and other standard health screenings like testing cholesterol levels, thyroid function, and liver and kidney function, we typically begin screening for common cancers for women including annual clinical breast exams and Pap testing for cervical cancer during this timeframe.
Women Between Ages 40 – 64
It is during this age range when we typically begin to more closely monitor for symptoms of menopause. This can include testing bone density as there is a close association between menopause and osteoporosis. The American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends annual screening mammograms beginning at the age of 40.
Women Aged 65 Years & Over
Starting at age 65, clinical breast exams are still offered annually. Although some women may discontinue their pelvic exams at this age, we personally still strongly recommend including them as part of a well woman exam.
Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, our gynecological healthcare providers work hard to provide knowledge, guidance, and peace of mind during all well woman exams in our office. We pride ourselves on providing the patient care, professionalism, and discretion that every woman deserves. For more information or to schedule a well woman examination, contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional tips, news and more.