What Happens During an Annual Woman’s Exam
Chances are you don’t look forward to it, but it is an important part of keeping you healthy! Your annual wellness exam doesn’t take much time, and it’s important to have it done – to catch any potential problems early or to give you peace of mind for another year. But what does an annual exam entail?
When should you have your first annual?
A visit to the doctor at around the age of 13 to 15 can help answer a young woman’s questions and can make sure that everything is moving along normally. An annual breast and pelvic exam should begin at around age 19, and pap tests should start at around 21.
What happens during a gynecology exam?
Of course every patient is different, and every exam will be a little bit different. But it is likely that your exam will involve:
• A discussion with your doctor about your current health status and health habits
• A breast exam to check for anything abnormal, such as lumps or nipple discharge
• A pelvic exam to check for growths or other abnormalities
Your visit may also include a Pap smear, which is the collecting of cells from the cervix (which is at the top of the vagina and at the end of your uterus). Pap smears are important for early detection of cervical cancer (and can even identify changes in cells that can indicate that cancer will develop in the future), which can make a big difference in the outcome. A Pap smear can also determine the presence of infection and HPV (human papillomavirus).
Your annual exam is also the perfect opportunity to discuss mammograms with your doctor – mammograms are an x-ray of the breasts, which can help to detect breast cancer early.
You probably aren’t looking forward to your annual exam, but it can be a great way to catch problems early – and it’s also a great opportunity to discuss any questions or issues you have with your doctor. If it’s time for your annual, or if something just doesn’t feel right, contact Women’s Health Medical Group. Call (817) 346-5336 to schedule an appointment today.