Take time to take care of yourself and come in every year for your annual gyn exam.
The Importance of Annual Exams
Annual gynecological exams serve a number of purposes. An important part of your visit is to discuss concerns that you have and to diagnose any abnormalities as quickly as possible. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances of managing or recovering from a condition will be. We check your blood pressure and weight, key indicators of the state of your health. We will ask about gynecologic concerns relevant for your age and stage of life. Breast and pelvic exams can also be important parts of the annual gynecologic exam. Sometimes, we may recommend that you have blood tests. Depending on your concerns, problems and physical exam, we may advise that you have additional testing, such as an ultrasound, mammogram or colonoscopy. If you are having a current problem, please do not wait until your annual exam, but call to schedule an appointment so that we can address it.
At What Age Should Women Begin Getting Annual Exams
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that girls begin seeing for annual exams as early as thirteen years old, though most young women under 16 who need gyn care should see a pediatric gynecologist. Pediatricians generally manage most issues for women under 16. Pelvic exams and Pap tests generally begin around age 21. Of course, women are always encouraged to see their doctors sooner if there is any cause for concern. We see many adolescents to discuss and manage issues related to their periods as well as sexual choices and contraception.
What Happens at an Annual Exam?
We will welcome you when you arrive at the office. Please be sure to bring your identification and insurance cards. Also, check with your insurance company to see if your annual well woman exam is covered. Unfortunately, these rules change frequently and the same insurance you had last year or last month, may have different rules now.
An annual exam general begins with you leaving a urine sample. We are checking for evidence of a urinary tract infection, which may or may not have symptoms. We also check for sugar in the urine and protein in the urine. If you have any of these, we will discuss them with you during your visit.
The next step is to talk with you and find out your health history and concerns that you have about your gynecologic health. Since we are women's health specialists, we may be asking when your last periods started, how often you get your period, length of your periods, heaviness of your periods, lack of periods, or how you are doing since the end of your periods. We will remind you of what screening tests, if any, you need. We will also make sure you are up to date on your HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine guideline have changed recently and we want to make sure you are up to date with the latest recommendations. Then the nurse will take your measurements and vital signs, including your height, weight and blood pressure.
At Ideal Gynecology, for your physical exam, you will be given a soft, cloth gown and an additional sheet to drape over your lap. All of our practitioners are specialists in women’s health and your breast and pelvic exam will be as gentle as possible and with respect for your privacy.
If you have any anxiety about the exam, talk to your provider. We understand that a gyn exam can be difficult for a number of reasons, physical and/or emotional and we are here to work with you.