Medical conditions rarely arise all at once. Most conditions develop slowly over time, so that you don’t even notice the changes. After symptoms appear, your condition or disease is already in a later stage that may complicate treatment.
Annual exams are an important part of your self-care routine. Just as you get an annual general physical, bi-annual dental exams, and annual eye exams, an annual well woman exam should be added to your schedule.
Why are well woman exams so important to your health? Knowledgeable, supportive OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD break down some of the main benefits of well woman exams.
Catch cancer in its early stages
During your well woman exam, your OB/GYN carefully examines your body for signs of changes or abnormalities. First, they gently palpate your breasts for signs of tumors. Depending on your age, we may also refer you for a mammogram to check for early signs of breast cancer.
Another cancer screening that’s a normal part of many well woman exams is a Pap smear. Depending on your age and whether or not you’re sexually active, your OB/GYN takes a sample of cervical cells from your uterus. They send the cells to a lab for evaluation.
If you have precancerous or cancerous signs, they’ll conduct further tests before making a diagnosis. Finding cancer early is important for your health. Early-stage cancers are often easily cured.
During your exam, we take samples of your blood and urine to look for signs of infections. Depending on your situation, we may test for:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
When we find an infection that’s compromising your health, we recommend treatment, which may include a course of antibiotics. If you have signs of STDs, we may recommend other, more specific tests, including those for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the primary cause of cervical cancer.
Prescribe birth control
If you’d like to delay starting your family, we help you find the right kind of contraception for your situation. You may choose a type of birth control that you use only at the time you need it, or long-term solutions that give you flexibility.
Part of your well woman exam consists of our listening to you and discovering your concerns and goals. Your OBGYN details the types of contraception available, their level of effectiveness, and their pros and cons.
Help you get pregnant
If you’re ready to start or add to your family, we help with that, too. As soon as you’d like to become pregnant, we can recommend prenatal vitamins and lifestyle changes that help you conceive and deliver a healthy baby.
We help investigate and resolve fertility issues you and your partner may face. We may refer you to a fertility specialist for artificial reproductive technology (ART), if necessary.
Get the answers you need
If you have uncomfortable symptoms — including heavy periods, pelvic pain, or unusual vaginal discharge — a well woman exam helps you understand what’s happening in your body and how to resolve any conditions you may have. Meeting with your doctor every year helps you feel comfortable enough to contact them whenever you have a health concern.
To book your well woman exam, contact the nearest Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville office today. Call or schedule an appointment online.