Do you really need to see a healthcare provider when you're feeling fine and experiencing no symptoms? Absolutely! In fact, one of the best things you can do for your health is to see your provider when you’re well, as well as when you’re not.
Naturally, you should call your provider when something goes wrong – for example, when you're having pain, experiencing heavy bleeding, or fighting a fever, or if you find a lump or something just seems wrong. But at every age and stage of life, you should also be sure to see your provider at least once a year for a checkup.
Yearly exams for women are referred to as well-woman exams. During these exams, your provider not only makes sure you're in good health, but they also help keep you on track for wellness in the future.
At Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, our dedicated care providers consider the well-woman exam to be an integral part of your care plan. We strongly believe that every woman should have a well-woman exam once a year, in addition to seeing your provider for acute care and pregnancy care as needed.
Here, we share five important reasons to schedule a well-woman exam.
During your well-woman visit, your provider performs a thorough check of your body and your reproductive organs. Some of the general health checks include your blood pressure, weight, heart rate, and respiration rate.
Your provider also conducts an internal exam to check on the health of your ovaries, vagina, cervix, and uterus. In addition, they examine your breasts and thyroid to look for lumps or other abnormalities.
Your provider lets you know if you need tests or screening to check for health issues. These may include blood or urine tests for conditions such as anemia, elevated blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol. Testing can catch medical problems early, when they are easiest to treat.
If necessary, your provider will perform a Pap smear to check on the health of your cervical cells. And if you need a mammogram, bone density test, screening for colorectal cancer, or other screening test, your provider talks with you about how and when to schedule it.
Many diseases and health conditions can be prevented. For example, sexually transmitted infections may be avoided with strategies such as practicing safe sex and staying up-to-date with vaccinations for conditions such as HPV, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.
Your provider also lets you know if you need any vaccines. They aren’t just for children; some of the vaccines that you received as a kid may wear off over time.
After asking you about your personal health history, family health history, and lifestyle, your provider gives you information you may need to help reduce your risk of future health problems. For example, your provider may talk with you about having genetic testing for cancer.
Your yearly well-woman visit offers a perfect opportunity to talk with your provider about family-planning issues such as birth control and pregnancy planning. If you’re planning to get pregnant in the future, your provider tells you when to start taking prenatal vitamins and whether to schedule a prenatal checkup.
Even if you're happy with your birth control method, it's important to discuss it with your provider as you get older as your needs and family planning goals may change.
Your well-woman exam is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions about anything related to your physical health or mental health, including:
Our care providers encourage you to jot down your questions in advance, so you can make sure to get all the answers you're seeking. It’s easy to forget questions.
Be sure to tell your provider if you're experiencing any discomfort or symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding, vaginal dryness, headache, and pain of any kind.
To schedule a well-woman visit or an evaluation for any medical concern, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.