By now we all know that eating well and getting plenty of exercise are part of maintaining health and preventing disease. However, regular checkups play a key role in staying healthy. An annual well-woman exam is a cornerstone of preventive health care for women of all ages and one of the most important steps women can take in making their health a priority. This yearly visit involves breast and gynecological screening tests that can save your life.
Even though preventive screenings are an important part of keeping health on track, many women put off their annual well-woman exam. Here at OB-GYN Associates our team of women’s health specialists wants women to know that well-woman exams can detect issues well before symptoms emerge. This makes it vital to schedule and attend your annual well-woman exam even if you’re feeling fine.
Well-woman exam explained
The beginning of the year is an excellent time to schedule a well-woman exam. This crucial yearly visit serves as a comprehensive checkup to check the status of your health on all fronts when you’re not actively seeking treatment for illness.
Typically, you should begin attending an annual well-woman visit around the time you start seeing signs of puberty. From that point on, the focus of your appointments may change with events in your life, but the annual visit should be a regular part of your overall health care routine.
Getting the most out of your exam
Well-woman exams are designed to check women’s health at every stage of life, starting at puberty. Certain aspects of your well-woman checkup will depend on your factors such as your age. However, regardless of your age, most well-woman visits start with checking your weight, height, and blood pressure, as well as general observations about your general health.
Partnering with your provider and forming a collaborative relationship is key as your provider can follow your health over time, potentially spotting issues that other health care providers may miss.
Your history since the last visit is often part of the discussion, including illnesses you or close family members have had. It also helps to discuss any changes to your lifestyle.
When you start well-woman visits, you may have questions about your changing body and your period. This is typically a good time to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect you from getting infected by certain types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
Your exam evolves with you
Once you become sexually active, a well-woman exam is an excellent opportunity to discuss options for contraceptives, safe sexual practices, and STD prevention and testing. If you’re preparing for a pregnancy, your exam can focus on your health and how it will support your growing baby.
When you’re done having children, permanent birth control may become a priority, and later in life, treatment for relieving symptoms of menopause and protecting your bones becomes a priority.
Your general health is also part of your well-woman exam. This includes screening for cancers. Many breast and gynecological cancers often cause no obvious symptoms until they’re in the advanced stages. The goal is to spot signs of these diseases as early as possible.
Our team of OB/GYNs and expert staff take pride in providing women with compassionate, top-quality care at every stage of life. Start the year off right by making an annual well-woman exam your top priority. To schedule a visit with one of our specialists, call or book online today. We have offices in Marietta and Woodstock, Georgia.