What to Expect During Your First Well Woman Exam

Your first experience with a gynecologist may be through a well woman exam. Unless you’ve previously received treatment for period irregularities, the target for your first well woman exam is usually when you become sexually active or no later than age 21. 

If you’re unsure about what to expect, you may be apprehensive about the exam. You shouldn’t be. In this blog, the experienced and compassionate providers at Southeast Urogyn discuss what's involved in a well woman exam and how these vital visits can benefit you.

Getting prepared

With a well woman visit, you likely won’t have symptoms or a condition to discuss, but it’s a great opportunity to expand your knowledge about your body and how it works. Jot down any questions you have ahead of time. This might include specific questions about your menstrual cycle, reproduction, birth control, preventive health, or anything else that comes to mind.

At some point prior to your exam, you’ll provide the practice with your medical history and possibly your family’s medical history, too. This will help your caregiver follow up on any potential genetic issues. You’ll also need to provide a list of medications and supplements you take.

Checking your vitals

The process will likely start with a nurse getting your vital signs. They’ll likely take your temperature, weight, and blood pressure. This will help build a baseline medical history for you that will develop as you make more visits. You’ll then likely be taken to the exam room. Once in the exam room, you’ll change out of your clothes ― you can keep your socks on if you want ― and into a typical examination gown.

Undergoing your exam

First, you should know that Southeast Urogyn uses female nurse practitioners for well woman exams. Second, you should know that your exam shouldn’t be painful, though there may be some discomfort. 

Your exam will start with a chat about your health history and will also cover any questions you may have. Then your provider will check your pelvic organs with a mix of visual and manual examinations. She will inspect your cervix for irregularities, and she may also check the size and location of your uterus.

You may also receive a Pap test. With this test, cells from your cervix are gently scraped. Then they’re examined to detect the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells. While well woman exams usually occur annually, Pap tests may not happen at every appointment. Your nurse practitioner will discuss the schedule with you. 

Also during your visit, your provider will likely give you a breast exam to check for signs of breast cancer or other irregularities. And, if needed, your provider may request a blood or urine test. If any problems are detected, one of our doctors ― all of whom specialize in urogynecology ― will explore the issue further. 

By getting regular well woman exams, you can detect problems early and improve your chances of living a long and healthy life. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Southeast Urogyn today.

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