Scheduling a well-woman visit with our team at Southeast Urogyn is one of the best investments you can make in your continued good health.
Common health conditions sometimes take years to emerge, and simple, regular visits with a trusted practitioner can help you sidestep major issues by detection and treatment in their early stages.
To make the most of your well-woman visit, it’s helpful to understand the goals and common steps that feature in your appointment. You can prepare well, whether it’s with health history information or questions about your care. We’ve prepared this primer so you’ll know what a well-woman exam covers.
The goals of your visit
A well-woman exam has three goals to satisfy each time you visit:
- Documenting changes to your health history and habits
- Receiving a physical exam based on your needs
- Setting goals for your health based on lifestyle and continued good health
Consider these the bigger concepts that guide each visit. It’s an opportunity for both patient and caregiver to update a relationship in which familiarity may be helpful to recognize trends that may not be apparent in a single visit.
What you can expect
Though the particulars of each exam may change (the National Cancer Institute doesn’t recommend annual Pap smears, for example), the overall patterns of a well-woman exam tend to remain the same.
History and habits
Your exam starts with a discussion of the changes since your last visit. Common questions you may be asked include topics such as:
- Changes in your home life or relationships
- Your personal and family health histories
- Sexual activity
- Changes to diet or exercise routines
- Prescription medications and dietary supplements
- Alcohol, tobacco, or drug consumption
- Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
Sometimes, we may take vital signs before your health review. This includes measurements of height, weight, and body mass. We may also measure blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature for comparison with past visits as well as current standards.
Clinical breast cancer exams are common, and it’s a great time to ask questions about self-screening if you’re not confident with your current routine. In fact, a well-woman exam is ideal for asking anything about health-related matters.
Most well-woman exams include a pelvic exam. The need for Pap smear or a Pap/HPV co-test happens on a schedule determined by you and your doctor. Unless you have high-risk circumstances, you won’t have these tests done at every visit. Your frequency also depends on your age.
If you require vaccinations or boosters, your well-woman exam is a good time to receive them.
Setting health goals includes things like targeting healthy weight, changing habits that may influence your health, and preparing for life changes, such as a pregnancy or menopause. You and your doctor can discuss follow-up visits to help assist you meet these goals.
It’s important that you’re proactive about your health care and that you partner with the right team of medical professionals to ensure healthy, trouble-free living.
Call our Flowood or Madison, Mississippi, office today, if you need to get your well-woman exam schedule back on track, or if you have any other urogynecological health needs. We’re ready to help.