Why should you have a yearly Well-Woman visit?

Preventative healthcare is important to your well being. Make sure to schedule and attend your yearly Well-Woman visit.

Did you know that for women preventative care is especially important, due to the unique health conditions that women experience? May is Women's Health month and it is important to understand that for women there are additional things that need to be considered to manage healthcare, such as establishing a well-woman visit with your provider. 

What is a well-woman visit?

A Well-Woman visit is a yearly visit where you will meet with your women's health specialist and discuss your health and complete a physical exam. The primary goal of this visit is to establish goals to maintain your overall health and wellness. The preventative measures that might be discussed or taken during this appointment are:

  • Services that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems, such as vaccines.
  • Screening tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat. This is the most effective way to catch a potential problem early. 
  • Education and counseling from your provider to help you make informed health decisions.

What to expect during your well-woman visit

Your visit will start will you discussing your overall health with your women's health specialist.During this part of the visit your provider will ask you questions regarding your:

  • Medical history
  • Family history
  • Sexual activity
  • Mental health history
  • Nutrition and physical activity habits
  • History with medications

The second part of this visit includes a physical exam where your provider will examine your body including:

  • Recording your height , weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • Taking your temperature and recording your blood pressure
  • Performing a clinical breast exam to check for any abnormalities
  • Performing a pelvic exam ( feeling around your pelvis and looking inside your vagina)

If you’re not comfortable being alone with the doctor or nurse during the physical exam, you can ask to have another nurse also be present with you during this time.

At the end of the physical exam you will discuss any screenings or additional tests that are right for you as well as any health goals that you would like to establish.

What is the difference between a well-woman exam and a physical?

A well-woman visit is similar to a physical in the sense that both visits are to give an overall look at your current health and decide on preventative measures to continue to keep you well. However, there are different things that a women's health specialist will be checking during a well woman visit that do not happen with your primary care provider, such as the pelvic exam. A women' health specialist will be more focused on your reproductive health, such as concerns with your menstrual cycle.

It is still important to also schedule yearly appointments with your primary care provider to maintain your overall health as well.

RELATED: Have you established a primary care provider?

Establishing a yearly well-woman visit is important to your health and well being. If you notice any concerns with your body, make sure to reach to your provider to schedule an appointment.