Why Should I Expect My Annual Women's Wellness Exam?
You should visit your women's health specialist once a year for your annual wellness checkup. It’s one of the best ways to maintain good health and to detect problems early on.
Of course, we also know how important it is for patients to understand what to expect when they walk through the doors of our office for care. If you are undergoing a routine annual women's wellness check at Ideal Gynecology here’s what you can expect,
Check your vital signs: This includes blood pressure and weight. We will calculate your BMI (body mass index) for you.
Your medical history: It’s important that you fill out everything about your health, from habits such as drinking and smoking and pre-existing conditions to your family’s medical history. This will give your doctor an idea of certain health issues to be on the lookout for. We will also ask you questions about your period and any symptoms or issues you might be having.
At Ideal Gynecology, we do a breast exam at every annual exam. A breast exam consists of palpation of the entirety of each breast as well as tissue going up into the axilla or underarm. Many patients often come to us when they have found a lump or mass in their breast. Women having nipple discharge who are not breastfeeding also see us begin their evaluation.
It is a good idea to become comfortable with how your breasts feel. If no one has taught you how to do a breast exam, we are happy to show you and also let you know what feels normal and what is concerning. Only Barbie and her Mattel friends have perfectly smooth breasts. All women have lumps and bumps. Breasts can change during a menstrual cycle. Many women have more tender breasts just before or during their period. If you feel something concerning and are still having periods, wait 6 weeks, when you will be in a different phase of your cycle, and check again. If it persists, you should make an appointment.
A breast abscess is often painful and red and comes with a high fever. The treatment for a breast abscess starts with antibiotics, but if that does not work, we will refer you to a breast specialist for drainage.
There are many types of breast cancer. Most begin with a lump. We recommend annual mammograms that can find a cancerous mass before you or a practitioner can feel it. Inflammatory breast cancer can be seen from the outside and is called "peau d'orange" because the skin looks like the skin of an orange.
If you are concerned about something in your breast, please give us a call.
A pelvic exam has several parts. First, we will look at the outside, at the labia majora, also called the vulva. We are looking for lumps or bumps which may indicate warts or other changes.
This is often followed by a speculum exam. As a gynecology office, we have many sizes of speculums as our patients come in many sizes. The speculum exam is done to visualize the inside of the vagina as well as the cervix. If you are here because you have vaginal discharge, you will most likely have a speculum exam so that we can see and get a sample of the discharge.
The next part is called a “bimanual exam.” Your provider will gently place one or fingers inside the vagina and place the other hand on your abdomen. This is done to evaluate for an enlarged uterus or enlarged ovaries. We are also noting if there is tenderness in one or more areas on your exam. This can let us know if you have fibroids or an ovarian cyst. If we feel something out of the ordinary on your exam, we will recommend an ultrasound for further evaluation.
This appointment is also a time for women to discuss their reproductive health with their doctors. If you are sexually active you may want to talk to us about birth control options, getting the HPV vaccine or STD testing. Women who are having issues conceiving can also talk with their OBGYN about their options or to discuss referrals for fertility treatment. Remember, this appointment is about you and your health. If you have any questions about birth control, abnormal bleeding, painful periods, getting pregnant, urinary leakage, or other concerns don’t hesitate to ask us.
If it’s time for your annual well women exam call us Ideal Gynecology in Atlanta, GA, at (470) 312-3696 to schedule your next visit.