What Goes Into a Well Woman Exam?

well-woman exams, woman's health,  pelvic exam, breast exam

On TV, doctors are constantly on the move, shifting from one action-packed scene to another. Much like other professions portrayed on screen, there is no mention of paperwork or waiting for lab results or taking time to give patients detailed consultations. There’s also no mention of one of the most important parts of a physician’s job: preventive care.

If you’re lucky enough to have never needed hospitalization, then all you’ve probably dealt with is preventive care. Preventive care not only gives you a good bill of health but is also a vital way to spot any medical issues before they get out of control.

For women, preventive care includes a well-woman exam. It’s like a physical, but it also focuses on reproductive and breast health. Typically, an obstetrician or gynecologist performs the exam. Overall, a well-woman exam seeks to provide the benefits of both a mental and physical checkup.

Any woman over 21 should get an annual well-woman exam. At Houston Women's Cosmetics/ Suburban Women's Clinic, we’re dedicated to your reproductive health. Dr. Adebayo Adesomo is a board-certified OB/GYN with over 29 years’ experience; he puts compassionate care at the forefront of the practice. In addition to well-woman exams, he offers pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, general gynecological care, and abortion services. Here’s what to expect from our well-woman exam:

A physical

A well-woman exam can be cleanly cut into two pieces: It’s part conversation and part physical exam. During the physical exam portion, Dr. Adesomo performs a breast exam and a pelvic exam. The results of these exams may spur additional tests, and you can add additional screenings not covered in the standard exam.

Breast exam

If you’ve ever performed an at-home breast exams, the clinical breast exam should feel pretty familiar. What Dr. Adesomo looks for varies by age, but you can expect him to look for lumps, nipple discharge, and any changes in the shape or skin texture of your breasts.

The American Cancer Society also recommends a yearly mammogram for women ages 45-54 and every two years if you’re age 55 and older. If you are under 45 but don’t get the desired results from the breast exam, we recommend you get a mammogram for further testing.

Pelvic exam

During the pelvic exam, Dr. Adesomo checks your cervix, uterus, and ovaries for abnormalities. Although some women report discomfort during this exam, it is not generally considered painful. A Pap smear, in which we collect cells from your cervix, is part of the pelvic exam. Those cells are tested for cervical cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV).

Dr. Adesomo may also do additional testing for sexually transmitted diseases, based on your medical and sexual history. Although slightly intrusive, the pelvis exam is critical for women up to age 65. At that age, you can stop regular testing if the results have been negative for 10 years.

Questions

In addition to the physical exams, a well-woman exam should also be a conversation about your health in general, from mental health to birth control and anything in between. If you’ve ever typed a question into a search engine or other online resource, you should think about asking Dr. Adesomo as well. His knowledge of your medical history can provide answers and feedback that go way beyond what the internet can provide.

Dr. Adesomo also asks you important questions that cover some of the following areas

If you leave your well-woman exam with any questions, something isn’t right. Preventive care is about more than screening and testing. It’s also a stamp of good health and peace of mind for the year ahead.

When was the last time you got a well-woman exam? If it’s been more than a year, your insurance may offer a free or low-cost exam. With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Adesomo is as seasoned as they get. Call our office to make an appointment today.

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