A well-woman exam is an annual checkup that focuses on female-specific issues and is essential in preventative health throughout a woman’s lifespan. This doctor visit may include a physical exam, gynecological exams, and a discussion of women’s health topics such as contraceptives, lifestyle habits, general wellness, and any concerns you may have. It is important to get an annual well-woman exam starting around 13-15 years old, when menstruation begins, or when sexually active.
Why Do I Need an Annual Well Woman Exam?
Annual wellness exams for women provide an opportunity for the physician to review your medical history for any health risks before they become a problem. Your doctor might want to discuss a sexual activity, the risk for STIs, nutrition, exercise, and unhealthy habits such as smoking. These confidential discussions can offer emotional support for women who have a hard time talking about personal issues.
Most well-woman exams include a physical exam along with a breast exam. Depending on individual risks, further screenings can be recommended to help detect cancers such as breast, ovarian, or cervical, as well as other serious conditions such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts.
Benefits of Having a Well-Woman Exam
Well-woman exams can save lives. These annual visits aid in the early detection of disease, promote earlier treatment, support peace of mind, and provide valuable information on self-care strategies.
Preventative care saves time and money. Early detection of conditions like heart disease, colon cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer can help prevent advanced health problems, time-consuming treatments, and high medical costs. In addition, annual wellness exams for women are free of charge with most insurances. Check with your insurance if you are unsure if yours does.