When the New Year rolls around, most women, men, and kids make a list of resolutions to achieve their personal and health-related goals. Just as you need help and specialized knowledge to achieve your career and personal goals, getting help with your health goals keeps you on track for the year. One of the best ways to ensure that you’re healthy — and to catch any problems early so they can be more easily treated — is to get an annual well-woman exam.
Expert and caring OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD and J. Stephen Suhrer, MD offer well-woman exams at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida. During an annual well-woman exam, your OB/GYN evaluates your current state of health, tests you for any potential problems, and addresses any questions or concerns you have about your reproductive and general health.
Below, the OB/GYNs at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville give a brief overview of some of the most common procedures and tests included in a well-woman exam.
A well-woman exam is focused on your reproductive health. Your OB/GYN examines and presses gently on your breasts to test for lumps and cysts.
He also presses on your lower abdomen and pelvis to make sure that your organs feel normal and don’t have any growths. He may insert a gloved finger into your vagina to check for abnormalities, or use a speculum to administer a Pap smear test.
Your doctors screen for other conditions that affect your health, such as colon cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes. The nurse at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville checks your blood pressure and heart rate. They take blood samples and a urine sample to test for general health and any possible infections, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
If you need immunizations, the medical professionals at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville keep you up to date on your shots, including the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, if necessary. They refer you for other tests, including bone-density scans and mammograms when needed. They can even help you lose weight or refer you to a medically supervised weight-loss program.
Check for cervical cancer
The human papilloma virus (HPV) causes most cases of cervical cancer. Almost all sexually active adults contract an HPV infection at some point, which makes getting screened for changes in your cervix (i.e., the opening to your uterus) an important part of self-care. Women over the age of 30 are at increased risk for cervical cancer, but most women between the ages of 21 and 65 should be screened.
A Pap smear is a simple test that your doctor administers to check for changes in your cervix that could indicate the presence of cancer. You should have Pap smears every three years. You can also opt for a combination of a Pap smear and an HPV test every five years.
Help with menstrual period or menopause
If you have cramps or heavy bleeding, your OB/GYNs determine the cause and individualize treatment for you. They also help alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, such as hot flashes and uncomfortable sex.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for your annual well-woman exam to bring up problems. Call your OB/GYN at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville whenever you notice unusual symptoms, such as an unusual vaginal discharge, sores or blisters in the genital area, or any kind of pelvic pain.
If you’re sexually active but not ready for a family, the professionals at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville help you find the right type of contraception that meets your needs and values. You can choose from temporary birth control (e.g., condoms and diaphragms), long-term birth control (e.g., birth control pill or shot, intrauterine device), or permanent sterilization.
Help before and after getting pregnant
When you’re ready to start a family, your Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville OB/GYN offers pre-conception counseling to maximize your chances for a healthy pregnancy. They also provide prenatal care, including dietary and exercise recommendations for each stage of your pregnancy. After you give birth to your baby, they help you recover and strengthen your pelvic floor.
Screen for depression
When you see your OB/GYN at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, they also take time to talk to you and find out about any issues in your life, whether physical or emotional. During your well-woman exam, your doctor asks questions about your mood, and how it affects your quality of life. They can also refer you to a mental health professional, if necessary.
Help with anything that worries or concerns you
An annual well-woman exam provides you a safe space where you can learn more about sex and the changes your body goes through during each stage of life, discuss fears about and get tested for STDs, and bring up other health questions. Your OB/GYN can help you with a range of symptoms, including urinary incontinence, or refer you to another specialist. Seeing the same OB/GYN year after year guarantees you continuity of care so that you feel comfortable discussing your reproductive health and any other concerns you have.
Resolve to stay healthy in the new year by scheduling your well-woman exam. Contact us today.