Prepare for your Visit by Learning What Is Included in an Annual Gynecological Exam
Under the Affordable Care Act, all women in the U.S. receive one free annual well-woman exam. That’s because this exam is considered to be a critical preventive measure to take for your well-being. It’s important to take advantage of this free opportunity to visit your gynecologist every year. But what is included in an annual gynecological exam? We will break it down for you here.
Your health is our top priority at Dr. Lona Sasser Obstetrics & Gynecology. Our top-rated doctors are here to support you from conception to birth, from adolescence to menopause, and beyond.
What is included in an annual gynecological exam?
When you think about what is included in an annual gynecological exam you may only be imagining the physical exam. While that is an important piece of your preventative healthcare, your well-woman visit actually is much more comprehensive. We will break down what to expect, and how you can prepare to get the most out of your visit.
Your exam will include:
- A discussion of your medical history and overall health
- Routine screenings
- A physical exam
Your exam will likely include measurements of your current weight and height, a blood pressure check, a breast exam, and a pelvic exam. When we think about the gynecologist, pap smears often come to mind, but they don’t happen with every visit. Pap smears are generally recommended every 3 years for women ages 21 to 65, so if you’re due for one it will be part of your pelvic exam.
And you can get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or request a pregnancy test.
How to be ready for your visit
Before you arrive for your annual gynecological visit, it’s a good idea to make a list of recent medical events, vaccinations, or surgeries since your last exam. Know any medications you are taking and their dosage. And think about any concerns or questions you want to discuss with your doctor ahead of time. It’s ok to write them down so you won’t forget anything that you want to talk about during the appointment.
How to get the most out of it
Now that you know more about what is included in an annual gynecological exam, here’s more to consider for really getting the most out of the time with your doctor.
Your annual gynecological exam offers the perfect opportunity to talk to your care provider about birth control and family planning, uncomfortable or heavy periods, symptoms related to pelvic floor discomfort or weakness, and really any other topic regarding your reproductive system.
A lot of us turn to “Dr. Google” and research our questions on our own, but talking to your doctor about your questions can help you gain greater clarity, and a real-time, personalized response based on your doctor’s training, experience, and your personal health history.
And perhaps most importantly, taking advantage of this routine exam is one of the best ways to build a positive, trusting, lifelong relationship with your gynecologist.