Well Woman Exam

The annual well woman exam frequently causes women to feel anxious or uneasy, especially if it is their first one. If it’s time to schedule your first well-woman exam, it can be helpful to know what to expect to feel well-prepared and at ease during the appointments.

Why is an annual well-woman exam necessary?

It is completely normal to feel apprehensive before your first well-woman exam, but you must schedule your appointment without delay. When you become sexually active or reach age 21, you should schedule your first well-woman exam. Additionally, if you experience menstrual irregularities or pelvic pain, you should schedule an exam.

A well woman exam is the only way to detect cervical cancer in its early stages and the first line of defense against female reproductive diseases. Therefore, it is essential to be diligent in scheduling your annual examination.

What You Can Anticipate During Your Initial Well Woman Exam?

A well woman exam will begin similarly to any other doctor’s visit. You will be asked questions about your family medical history, any medications you are currently taking, general demographic information, your menstrual cycle, sexual activity, and previous pregnancies. A nurse will measure your height, weight, and blood pressure and may ask you additional questions regarding your intake forms.

The well woman exam consists of four components: the physical exam, breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap smear.

Physical Exam

The physical exam is comparable to what your primary care physician would perform during an annual physical, but it may be more convenient to combine the physical with your well-woman exam. Dr. Morgan will review your medical history and inquire about your current health concerns. Your vital signs, heart rate, lungs, head, neck, abdomen, and reflexes will be evaluated. Sometimes they will request blood or urine tests.

Breast Exam

Breast exams help detect early signs of breast cancer. During the breast exam, Dr. Morgan will look for lumps or irregularities in your breasts. They will also teach you how to perform a self-examination, which you should do once every month.

Pelvic Exam

The pelvic exam helps detect early stages of cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and any causes of inflammation. Women 21 and older should get a pelvic exam once per year. If you are under the age of 21, you should get a pelvic exam if you experience menstrual irregularities, vaginal discharge, or pelvic pain.

Pap Smear

A pap smear allows for the early detection of cervical cancer. While the speculum is in place, Dr. Morgan will insert a small brush or spatula to scrape a tissue sample from the cervix. A pap smear should not be painful, but a brief pinching sensation is likely. If you are at least 21 years old and sexually active, you should get a pap smear every other year.