A cancer screening is just one component of your annual exam. Here’s what to know about your well-woman exam vs. pap smear.
It’s important to know what to anticipate from your preventative healthcare visit. An informed patient is a confident participant in their own care and well-being. Before you visit a new doctor or have a wellness exam for the first time, empower yourself with what to expect. Here we look at your well-woman exam vs. pap smear and what you should know.
The respected and friendly doctors at Dr. Lona Sasser Obstetrics & Gynecology are proud to be a top choice for your care in Coral Springs and the surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule your well-woman exam or another gynecological or obstetric service.
Routine preventative care matters
When you think about a well-woman visit, you might picture a simple physical exam, with measurements like taking your weight, height, and blood pressure alongside an exam of your breasts and pelvis.
It’s important to note that each visit may be slightly different. The specifics of your appointment depend on your age, sexual and reproductive history, and medical history.
A well-woman visit, also known as an annual wellness exam or gynecological exam, has real implications for your long-term health and well-being.
In fact, this routine annual appointment is free, protected healthcare under the Affordable Care Act because it’s considered essential preventative healthcare. It’s a good idea to see it as a significant opportunity to take good care of yourself and your body. What about your well-woman exam vs. pap smear?
Well-woman exam vs. pap smear
A physical exam is an essential part of your annual visit because it’s an opportunity for your doctor to catch any developing health problems in their earliest stages. Let’s look at your well-woman exam vs. pap smear.
One part of the physical exam is a cervical cancer screening, known as a Pap smear or Pap test. Cervical cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer, so it’s essential to screen for it and catch irregular cells early.
The pap smear is a quick procedure that involves swabbing the cervix during a pelvic exam. And while it may be associated with an annual exam, you don’t actually receive a Pap smear every time.
If you’re between ages 21 and 29, a Pap is generally recommended every three years. If you’re between 30 and 65, you only need to have a pap smear every 5-6 years.
HPV tests are another screening related to cervical cancer. Still, they are typically only administered over age 30 or as a follow-up if your last Pap smear turned up abnormal cells.
Your well-woman exam is comprehensive
Going to the doctor for an annual wellness visit is about much more than a physical exam. It’s also a significant opportunity to discuss other health topics, such as mental health, birth control, pregnancy and childbirth, nutrition, urinary incontinence, vaccines, STD testing, and many more.
Also, seeing your doctor annually builds a crucial relationship with a provider who will know your medical history and who can advocate for you and your health.
If you want to know more about a well-woman exam vs. pap smear, call our office and chat with our friendly and knowledgeable staff, or better yet, make an appointment. At Dr. Lona Sasser Obstetrics & Gynecology, we support you from conception to birth, adolescence to menopause, and beyond.