A well woman exam is used to provide your provider with an insight into both your general and reproductive health. They can identify potential health problems while still in their earliest stages and provide appropriate forms of treatment. The providers at Bosque Women’s Care offer a comprehensive list of gynecological services.
WELLNESS EXAMS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DO YOU NEED TO HAVE A PAP SMEAR PERFORMED EACH YEAR?
In the past, gynecologists recommended their patients have a pap smear each year during their well woman exam. Times have changed and, in most cases, pap smears are now recommended every three to five years for women who are between the ages of 21 and 65. We also recommend HPV testing (also called co-testing) for women over age 30.
Your provider may recommend them more often if you have had problems with sexually transmitted diseases or other vaginal infections in the past. A history of cervical dysplasia, new sexual partners, medications that may cause changes in your immune system, or irregular bleeding are all other reasons your provider may recommend a pap smear more frequently than every three years.
WHAT DOES YOUR PROVIDER LOOK FOR DURING A WELL WOMAN EXAM?
During a well woman exam, your provider's main goal is to ensure that you're in optimum health, both generally and reproductively. Your provider will ask if you're experiencing any abnormal symptoms with your periods or in general. If you're of childbearing age, they may also discuss birth control options as well. If you are closer to menopause, they will assess for symptoms of menopause and other age-related changes like incontinence and prolapse.
Your provider will look for any abnormalities that may be present in the breast, genitals, and on the cervix. Much like with a regular doctor, they will also monitor your heart, breathing, blood pressure, and screening tests like cholesterol, colonoscopies, and mammograms. The goal is to identify any potential health problems and remedy them before they become major issues.
WHY ARE PREVENTIVE EXAMS LIKE MAMMOGRAMS AND PAP SMEARS SO IMPORTANT?
Preventive exams like mammograms and pap smears are used to identify potential problems while they are still in the earliest stages. They can detect even the subtlest of changes in tissue, long before any real symptoms begin to appear.
Early detection saves lives. The earlier the cancer is detected and treated, the better your chances of survival. It offers your provider a wider range of treatment options and reduces the risk of cancer spreading to other areas of the body.
Preventive exams allow providers to be proactive, especially if you're at high risk for various types of reproductive cancers or health conditions.