Well women exam aids in identifying medical problems, recognizing certain risk factors for specific diseases, and promoting healthy life style and preventative screenings.
Almost all insurance companies cover the cost of the annual exam without co-pays or deductibles. Women ages 21 and older are recommended to have pap smear test yearly. The best time for the annual exam is the week after your period ends. Pap smear cannot be obtained if you are menstruating. It is also recommended not to have intercourse or use vaginal creams 24-48 hours before your visit.
The annual well women exam is composed of:
- Obtaining the patient’s vital signs (height, weight, BMI, blood pressure)
- Updating the patient’s health history. (You will be asked about your illnesses, surgeries, allergies, medications, hospitalizations, family history, contraceptive history, the last time you had pap smear and mammogram, the first day of your last period and any complaints you have at the time of the visit)
- Obtaining a urine specimen and urine dipstick test (Your urine will be tested for the presence of glucose, nitrite, albumin, blood, leukocytes, urobilinogen, pH, and specific gravity)
- Clinical breast exam
- Obtaining pap smear and HPV
- Pelvic exam to examine the uterus and ovaries internally and abdominal exam if indicated
- Counseling specific to patient needs such as birth control, protection from STD’s, menopause etc.
The Pap smear test is done to detect any abnormal cervical cells. If the result comes positive, it does not mean that you definitely have cervical cancer. If the result is abnormal, the physician may want to perform colposcopy or repeat the pap smear. Colposcope is a special magnifying device helps the physician to observe the cervix closely. A small tissue sample (biopsy) is taken from the cervix if the physician identifies any abnormality.
If your physician feels any lumps or abnormality during the clinical breast exam, he may order mammogram or breast ultrasound. Patients ages 40 and over will be prescribed a baseline mammogram.
Preventative screenings are very important for early detection. Health problems that are caught early can be treated more effectively. Schedule your annual visit with your gynecologist to ensure your physical and reproductive well being.
For more information obout the annual well women exam please log on to http://www.acog.org/-/media/Departments/Annual-Womens-Health-Care/PrimaryAndPreventiveCare.pdf