Getting to know your gynecologist, the annual gynecological exam, and supportive women’s healthcare
Compassionate women’s health care is based on the belief that quality, preventative health care is partly dependent on the trust and confidence that can be nurtured between health care practitioners and their patients. If patients feel supported by their doctors, they are more likely to go to them when there is a potential issue. Especially in women’s health care, it is not uncommon for women to avoid regular exams like the annual gynecological exam. And ultimately, the annual gynecological exam is a crucial element in women’s health care.
If you live in the Coral Springs, Florida area, you can schedule your annual gynecological exam today with Dr. Lona Sasser Obstetrics & Gynecology
What is an annual gynecological exam?
This exam can also be referred to as a “well woman exam.” Part of the reason for this name is that a wellness exam speaks to a more thorough and comprehensive approach to women’s health.
Under the Affordable Care Act, women in the U.S. are provided a free annual exam. The annual gynecological exam (or wellness exam) is seen as a preventive measure — meaning, it’s an opportunity to address health problems from their earliest stages of development, before they start to seriously impact your quality of life.
What happens during a well woman exam?
The well woman exam is most commonly known for the Papanicolaou test (Pap smear) which is a cervical screening, but this is only one element of the exam.
In fact your exam also includes a discussion of your medical history and overall health, routine screenings, and a physical exam. For example, measurements of weight and height, a blood pressure check, and breast exam, are often included. In fact, Pap smears are generally recommended every 3 years for women ages 21 to 65, but annual gynecological exams (wellness exams) are recommended yearly.
Additionally, the annual gynecological exam is a great time to ask to be tested for STIs or pregnancy. It is also the perfect time to talk to your gynecologist about birth control and family planning, uncomfortable or heavy periods, symptoms related to pelvic floor discomfort or weakness, and any other gynecologic topic of concern.
Practitioner-patient trust and confidence
Because of distrust or dread, when women avoid their exams, they often rely on their internet research to answer their health-related questions. However, talking to your doctor about them can help you gain greater clarity, and also offer a response that is based on not only the practitioner’s training and experience, but also based on your specific health and medical history.
Beyond the very real, practical benefit of in-person consultation, seeing your doctor regularly helps build the trust and confidence that is ideal between doctor and patient. It helps the doctor get to know you, your health, and can therefore better accompany you as you grow and subsequently, as your health needs shift and change!