annual exam

Annual Exams

Having an annual exam shows you’re taking charge of your health, and that’s something we encourage. Routine health care visits can help find problems early or prevent health problems before they occur.

An annual well-woman exam, including a pap smear and pelvic exam, is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for patients starting at age 21. A get-to-know-you visit is also recommended starting around age 15.

Our Approach to Annual Exams

Annual well-woman care at A Woman’s Healing Center includes a physical exam that evaluates the thyroid, heart, lungs, breasts, abdomen, back, general neurological, skin, and lymph systems, and pelvic area (vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries). Additionally, we will have in-depth discussions with you about any health concerns or medical needs unique to you.

Please note that all exams at A Woman’s Healing Center are always done with continual feedback from you. If something is uncomfortable and needs to be adjusted or stopped, we always respect your wishes.

As part of your annual exam, after a thorough health history is taken, the following are commonly addressed depending on your concerns or age:

  • Menstrual issues including PMS
  • Perimenopausal or menopausal concerns
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screening
  • Contraceptive/family planning needs
  • Infertility concerns or issues
  • TB or Tuberculin skin tests—as needed
  • Preconception care: Nutrition, exercise, weight management and related issues, personal safety, smoking, including smoking cessation, alcohol, drug use, stress management, and mental health are all issues that can be addressed at AWHC.
  • Some immunizations are available as needed

Additional Testing to Expect

In addition to your exam, your doctor may also recommend additional medical testing. Here is a list of the more commonly performed tests. We may suggest others, depending on your age, sexual activity, family history, etc.

Cervical Cancer Screening

A sample of cells is taken from the cervix to look for changes that could lead to cancer (Pap test); this test may be combined with testing for human papillomavirus in women aged 30 years and older.

Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Testing

A sample of cells is taken from an area where there may be an infection to check for the sexually transmitted diseases gonorrhea and chlamydia. A urine test also is available for both diseases. Learn more about chlamydia and gonorrhea testing here.

Clinical Breast Exam

Breast exams are recommended every 1–3 years beginning at age 20 years, and every year for women aged 40 and older.  Breast exams may be accompanied by mammography screenings as recommended by your doctor and indicated by your specific health situation.  Mammography screenings are an X-ray of the breast to look for breast cancer.  This procedure would be done outside the office if needed.  Learn more about breast exams and mammograms here.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Test

A test to check for HIV, a virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Early diagnosis and treatment with anti-HIV drugs can help people with HIV infection stay healthy for a long time and can decrease the chance of passing the virus to others. Learn more about the test and recommendations for HIV testing on the ACOG website.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Screening tests to look for cancer of the colon and rectum is recommended beginning at age 50. Learn more about colorectal cancer and available screening tests.

Diabetes Testing

A test to measure the level of glucose (a sugar that is present in the blood and is the body’s main source of fuel) because high levels could be a sign of diabetes mellitus.  Learn more about diabetes and women’s health.

Hepatitis C

A blood test to assess whether a person is infected with hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is a contagious disease that can be contracted through sexual encounters and that can lead to serious, long-term illness.  Those at high risk of infection should be tested for the hepatitis C virus.  Learn More

Lipid Profile Assessment

A test used to assess the risk of heart disease that measures the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. There are two main types of cholesterol, commonly thought of as “good” and “bad” cholesterol, both of which can have an impact on the women’s cardiovascular health.  Learn more about cholesterol and your health.

Thyroid-stimulating Hormone Screening

A test to check if your thyroid gland is working correctly.  Regular screening for thyroid disease is recommended every 5 years starting at age 50.  We may begin screening earlier if you have a family history of thyroid disease or other indication.  Learn more about thyroid disease.

Bone Density Screening

A screening test for osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become brittle and weak.  All women aged 65 and older should have a bone density screening.  If you are younger than 65 and past menopause, a bone density test may be recommended if you have had a fracture or other indication such as arthritis, are a smoker or heavy drinker.  Typically this test is done once every 15 years.  Learn More

Urinalysis

A test to measure the levels of certain substances, such as glucose, in your urine.  Urinalysis is a common test during prenatal checkups, but can also be useful in identifying urinary tract infections or other health issues.

 

Call us today to schedule your annual exam and stay ahead of your personal health and wellness. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I need an annual exam if I feel fine?

Annual exams are important and recommended even if you feel completely healthy.

Routine health care visits can help find problems early or prevent health problems before they occur. If problems are found early, they may be easier to treat and less likely to pose serious risks to your health. Preventive health care includes the following:

 

  • Discussion of health topics relevant to your age and risk factors
  • Exams and screening tests
  • Immunizations

In some cases, you may not yet know that something is wrong, but our doctor’s will be able to detect it before you have noticeable symptoms.  For this reason we recommend that you plan for an annual visit even if you don’t feel “sick.”

 

When does my daughter need to first visit an OB-GYN?

Teens and young girls can come to have “meet-and-greet” appointments with one of our doctors as young as age 13.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend these initial visits around age 15.

For girls aged 13-8 we are able to discuss the following health care issues:

Sexuality

Fitness and Nutrition

  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition (including eating disorders and weight concerns)
  • Important vitamins and minerals (such as folic acid and calcium)

 

Other Topics

  • Your Relationships and Mental Health
  • Relationships
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Hygiene
  • Skin exposure to ultraviolet rays
  • Acne treatment and skin care

How far in advance do I need to make my appointment?

If your schedule is not especially flexible or you need a specific day and time, we do recommend calling to make your appointment a few weeks in advance.

However, we always try to leave a few appointments available for last minute or emergent needs, thus same day appointments are often available – even for new patients. If you need to see a doctor immediately don’t hesitate to call and we’ll see what we can do!