Well Woman Examinations
A well-woman exam by your OB/GYN should be maintained yearly. This exam can be inclusive of many different exams based on age and date of last exam. This is when you will be counseled on overall women’s health and wellness. It can include a Pap smear, pelvic and breast exam.
One of the most important aspects of a well-woman visit is a comprehensive history. This history includes a review of current symptoms, medications, allergies, and past medical, surgical, family, social, and gynecologic history, including reproductive, sexual, and mental health. Taking a comprehensive history will indicate if certain components of the physical examination, including breast or pelvic examination, are needed at that visit. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pelvic and breast examinations be performed when indicated by medical history or symptoms. Other items that should be addressed at well-woman visits throughout the lifespan, include bone health, vulvovaginal symptoms, and sexual health.
The component of the comprehensive history, Family history is important and should be used as a risk assessment tool to be completed and updated regularly, at every visit. For example, the family history will be used to identify a woman at increased risk of cancer. When meeting a certain number of risk factors she could l be referred for genetic testing, counseling, or both, and for further preventive care as indicated.
Social history is an important factor when determining risk factors for disease such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and more. A well-woman exam is a great time to discuss social history in depth and it affects overall quality of life.
This is an appropriate time to discuss medications the patient is already taking, asses if they are adequate and renew them. If the patient is seeking to switch the medication they are on this would be the time to discuss and make a switch if medically appropriate. If you are experience any new problems that could lead to a new medication this would not be covered under the preventative well-woman exam.
There is significant value to coming in annually to have your well-woman exam with your provider. Please call our office to schedule your annual if you do not have one already scheduled.