Well-woman exams are an important part of taking care of your overall health. At Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and the team provide these exams that help you manage and understand the health of your reproductive organs. To schedule this important yearly exam, call the office or book an appointment online.
A well-woman exam usually involves a comprehensive examination of the organs in your pelvic region. These include your vagina, uterus, and vulva, as well as your breasts.
The exact tests and exams performed at your exam depend on your age, sexual habits and history, and overall health. A well-woman exam is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about birth control, your period, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Girls aged 13-15 may have just a basic physical and no pelvic exam at their first well-woman exam. The visit is an opportunity for a team member to answer questions about the menstrual cycle, puberty, and sexual habits. If you’ve had sex, she can also talk to you about birth control and STD testing.
Regular pelvic exams begin around age 21 and include a Pap smear to check for cervical cancer. The Pap test involves taking a swab to get a sampling of cells from the cervix, and it’s quick and pain-free. You also undergo a breast exam at these appointments to check for abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer.
As you get older and approach menopause, a team member can offer guidance on how to deal with issues such hot flashes and vaginal dryness as well as how to navigate the changes in health that occur with the drop in estrogen production during this time.
Having regular well-woman exams allows you to build a relationship with your provider, so you feel comfortable coming in if you have an issue regarding your gynecologic health. Building this relationship from a young age is crucial.
Well-woman exams can also catch reproductive health problems before they escalate into something serious. If you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms, such as irregular periods or bleeding, painful intercourse, or unusual vaginal discharge, you can address these at a well-woman visit.
You may need no tests during your well-woman exam. However, a Pap smear, urine test, and possibly blood tests may be ordered depending on your age and any symptoms you describe.
If you’re older than 40, a team member may recommend you get a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. And if you’re sexually active, you may benefit from STD testing, even if you’re symptom-free.
To schedule your annual well-woman exam, call Alpenglow Gynecology or book an appointment online.