Now is the time to book your well-woman exam appointment.
Much has changed over this period of time, but your everyday healthcare needs have not. To help make sure that your health is on track or to get it back on track if it has been derailed, a well-woman exam is a great place to start.
What is a well-woman exam?
A well-woman examination is an annual health exam for women. The exam focuses on screening for breast and gynecological diseases. It also gives your provider a chance to check up on your general health and well-being.
During the exam you’ll have the opportunity to speak to your provider about any new health concerns that you may have.
Who is eligible for an exam?
While Pap smears are not recommended until you are 21 years of age, women can begin having well woman examinations as early as 13 years old. Depending on your age, different preventative services are administered during the exam.
What will the exam include?
A well-woman exam is made up of two parts: A medical history and physical examination. The history portion is designed to spot any potential risk factors you might have. Issues such as current medications, menstruation abnormalities or the presence of new symptoms may be discussed.
The physical examination will include one or more of the following elements:
- Measurement of your height, weight and vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate).
- Pelvic examination and/or speculum: Pelvic exams will let your provider pick up any abnormal lumps or bumps, irregular vaginal discharge and abnormal bleeding.
- Breast examination: To look for any lumps, skin changes or dimpling of the nipple.
The entire examination will take approximately 20-45 minutes depending on your own particular circumstances.
Throughout the exam your doctor, midwife, or nurse practitioner will explain the entire process and answer any questions as you go along. We hope to make the exam as comfortable, quick and stress-free as possible.
Why is a well-woman exam useful?
Catching medical problems before they start can make a huge difference in determining how they end. A well-woman exam is a preventative exam. The exam is used as a tool to proactively screen you for medical issues before they become serious. The exam may help spot conditions such as:
- Breast or gynecological diseases.
- Specific concerns such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).
By taking into account your screening questions, medical history and age, your provider can better understand your risk of developing certain conditions. Following this, a discussion about lifestyle measures or further testing may be needed.
Topics you might want to discuss with your provider
Because a well-woman exam is tailored to each woman, we recognize that different issues will be more significant to different patients. Women of different ages may also have very specific age-related concerns. Issues you might want to discuss:
- Pap smear/cervical cancer screening
- Pre or post-pregnancy counselling
- Menopause symptoms
- Diet and nutrition
- STI screening
How do I prepare for the exam?
No special preparation is needed for the exam. Just bring a list of any questions you may want to ask your provider and a list of your current medications.
Having a yearly well-woman exam is a good habit to get into. We encourage all of our patients to speak to their providers about their own well-woman exam. For more information about the exam or to schedule your appointment, please call your clinic and speak to one of our friendly staff members.
5 Convenient Locations Across Northern Virginia
Remember that if your favorite Physician, Midwife or Nurse Practitioner is not available that day at that location they could be available in one of the other offices. You have the option to go back and preview available providers at other locations. Start with your preferred location by clicking the “Book an Appointment” button below at the location of your choice.