Unlike many other things in this world, the annual well-woman exam has been named appropriately. The main goal of this doctor visit each year is to make sure that as a woman, your health is in a good place.
Even if you’re facing a health issue, the exam gives you a chance to learn more about the issue and develop a plan to fix it.
And yet, many women balk at the idea of going to their doctor for this appointment each year. Here at the Voss Family Clinic, we understand your hesitation. It’s not always fun to be examined by someone you see once a year as you talk about some of your deeper problems that may be worrying you.
At the same time, we think you should make it a point to attend your well-woman exam each year. Here’s why we think it’s so important.
Depending on your doctor and your own needs, the procedures of a well-woman exam may vary a little, but the basic components will be the same no matter where you are. Your doctor will take your medical history, which includes details about medications, past illnesses and surgeries, family history of disease, and your lifestyle (including your diet, exercise, drinking and smoking, etc.).
After learning your medical history, your doctor will perform a physical exam, including taking your basic vital signs. The well-woman exam can also include a breast exam, a pelvic exam, and an exam of your reproductive organs. During all of these procedures, your doctor is looking for anything abnormal, any signs of infection, or anything that strikes them as unusual.
This part of the visit will give your doctor a good picture of your overall health.
Another main component of well-woman exams is preventative health. Your screenings will depend on your age, history, and risk factors, but will likely include a Pap smear to check for cervical cancer, a mammogram to check for breast cancer, and bloodwork to check for issues such as high cholesterol or high blood sugar levels.
Your physical exam and screenings serve a very important purpose: they give your doctor a chance to detect any issues or diseases while they are still small and treatable. If you skip your annual visits, problems may go undetected for a long time, causing treatment to be more involved and less effective.
A final component of your exam is the chance to talk with your doctor. You can ask any questions that have been bothering you and clarify any concerns you have. This is a safe environment to discuss topics such as birth control, family planning, sexually transmitted infections, mental health issues, menopause, and more.
If you need to find a doctor for a well-woman exam, the team at Voss Family Clinic is here to help. Just call our office or request an appointment online, and we’ll get your exam on the books as soon as we can so you can continue living as healthy as possible!