A well-woman exam is a preventive care evaluation of all aspects of a woman’s reproductive health. Annual well-woman exams are recommended, but if you have concerns or certain underlying medical conditions, you might need more frequent testing.
Your well-woman exam usually involves various tests and a detailed discussion with your doctor. It also includes a pelvic exam and a physical exam where your doctor checks for any signs of chronic disease or abnormal cells.
Your well-woman exam typically begins with a physical exam, during which your doctor checks your:
In some cases, you might also have a urine test to check for anemia.
During your pelvic exam, your doctor evaluates your external sexual organs and gently inserts an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum carefully holds open the vaginal walls to allow your doctor to view your cervix and check for signs of bacterial infections or abnormalities.
Your doctor might also want to do a Pap test, also called a Pap smear, which involves scraping your cervix using a tiny instrument to check for abnormalities in a small sample of your cells. A test to check for sexually transmitted disease (STDs) can be conducted in the same way.
A clinical breast exam is also a crucial part of your well-woman care, as your doctor looks for any abnormalities or lumps in your breasts. You should also conduct breast self-checks at home to catch early signs of breast cancer. Your doctor can give you information on how to correctly perform your breast self-checks.
Well-woman exams provide an array of benefits, including:
Your annual well-woman exam allows you to be proactive with your reproductive health and sexual wellness. The Louisiana Women’s Healthcare team is highly experienced in providing well-woman exams. Book yours online or call the office today.