How do you feel about our website?
Great   Indifferent

Why Annual OBGYN Exams are so Important to Longterm Health

More than likely you or members of your family see a primary care physician at least once per year. Additionally, you probably fit in a checkup with your dentist and maybe even a dermatologist or optometrist appointment. Which is why, for women, annual OBGYN exams are very important to prioritize.

An annual wellness exam with your gynecologist is an important part of measuring and evaluating your overall health. It’s a means to track your health over time and identify any concerns with your gynecological health. Additionally, an annual OB/GYN appointment serves as a great opportunity for women to ask a specialist specific questions and educate themselves on the particulars of certain preventive care.

Primary and Preventive Care

Annual exams are a means for you to develop a trusting relationship with your doctor. An OB/GYN appointment is a very personal procedure. One that should be as comfortable as possible. Therefore, it’s important to build that trust with your OB/GYN with regular, annual exams.

In many ways, your OB/GYN acts as your primary care physician, offering care in other areas of your health beyond gynecological health like:

Preventive Care

When it comes to women’s health, so many of the most common conditions can exist in the body without any noticeable signs or physical symptoms. Conditions like HPV, breast cancer, and cervical cancers can go unnoticed and untreated until it’s too late. An annual visit to your OB/GYN will keep your physician up-to-date and in the loop on any changes in your body that may indicate something more serious.

Plus, routinely going to the same doctor over the course of your life allows you to build trust, so that if, and when something does come up, you’re comfortable and ready to talk about treatments. Whether it’s getting ready for pregnancy, going through menopause, or preparing for other significant life changes, your OB/GYN can be there every step of the way.

What to Expect During Your Annual Exam

If it’s been awhile since your last OB/GYN appointment, it may be more comforting to know what to expect before you go in. Like any other physical exam, most OB/GYN wellness exams begin with basic bodily measurements like height, weight, blood pressure assessment and a urinalysis.

General questions might include any allergies, medications you may be taking, general health and lifestyle questions (diet, whether you smoke or drink alcohol, etc.), general questions about your menstrual cycles, as well as give you the opportunity to bring up any pertinent information and new medical issues or concerns.

Important Facets of an OB/GYN Exam

While your general health is an important part of your OB/GYN experience, you’ll want to get into more specific facets of your gynecological health. Common areas that your annual exam might cover can include any number of the following:


You may discuss aspects of your menstruation like the regularity and consistency of your cycles, concerns about heaviness, any bleeding in between periods, as well as any troubling or uncomfortable symptoms.

Birth Control and Sexual/Reproductive Health

When it comes to birth control, your OB/GYN can provide significant expertise. With so many different options available today, your doctor can help you decide which type and method of birth control is right for you and your body. Prescription birth control methods include:

Since your prescription or method might change from year to year, annual exams are even more important for check-ins on the status of your birth control.

Additionally, visits to your OB/GYN are great opportunities to discuss any concerns about your sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing. Your physician can help educate, diagnose, and treat issues related to pain during intercourse, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases, and other areas of concern.


Like your other primary care physician, an annual OB/GYN appointment is a great chance to learn about possible vaccinations that may be important to your health. Flu shots and pneumovax may be covered, but equally important is to go over the HPV vaccine, especially in the case of younger women.

The Physical Exam

Physical exams are another important part of any medical check up, especially annual OB/GYN exams. Here’s what you can expect in an annual exam with your OB/GYN.

Clinical Breast Exam

While getting a breast exam in a clinical setting every year is important, it’s also something you should (hopefully) know how to perform on your own and should really be conducted at least once a month. If you’re unsure of how to perform a self-breast exam, your annual OB/GYN appointment is the perfect time to ask and learn.

The clinical exam is in place to ensure nothing was missed on your self-checks, mainly signs of breast cancer that include abnormalities, lumps, or tenderness.

Abdominal and Pelvic Exam

Abdominal and pelvic exams are also standard parts of the physical exam portions of your annual OB/GYN appointment to examine your reproductive organs and scan for any abnormalities. The abdominal exam consists of your doctor palpating the abdomen for any irregularities.

For the pelvic exam, a speculum is inserted into the vagina so your doctor can closely examine an internal view of the cervix and vaginal lining more effectively. A Pap smear may also be performed at this time, which consists of collecting a sampling of cells that are shed from the cervix. The test only takes about 30 seconds, and the cells will be screened for any infections and possible pre-cancer signs.

Finally, a bimanual examination may be performed once the speculum is removed. A bimanual examination consists of your doctor palpating the lower abdomen with one hand while inserting one or two fingers into the vagina with the other. From there any changes to the vagina, ovaries, uterus and cervix can be detected.

Schedule Your Annual Exam Today

The results of any of the tests and exams performed during your annual visits will help inform your doctor of any major changes to your gynecological and overall health. From there you can be sure to make the necessary lifestyle changes and, if necessary, undergo any treatment plans.

Annual appointments with your OB/GYN should be an important part of your health plan. It’s a time to ask important questions and go over any major concerns you may have about your gynecological health

So, what are you waiting for? Building a trusting relationship with your doctor and setting the foundation for a better, healthier you starts with an annual exam. Contact your Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville OB/GYN today and schedule a consultation.

Dr. Daniel McDyer

You Might Also Enjoy...

What You Should Know About Perimenopause

You’ve always known you’d eventually go into menopause and stop having your periods. But you’re hearing a lot of talk about perimenopause, too. What is it? When does it start? And is perimenopause why you don’t feel like yourself lately?

Could Your Symptoms Mean You Have an STD?

Something’s “different.” So, you drive yourself crazy, looking up your symptoms on the internet, trying to decide if you should be worried or not. Here’s some information that may help — but ultimately, you need to get tested.

What to Expect at Your Well Woman Exam

Why should you go to the gynecologist once a year? For one thing, a well-woman exam may catch problems early, when they might be treated more easily. It also gives you a chance to get the advice and support you need to stay healthy.

Don't Ignore a Heavy Period

Your period is often heavy and long. But that’s just the downside of being a woman, right? Wrong. Bleeding heavily during menstruation isn’t normal, shouldn’t be ignored, and doesn’t have to be suffered through. You can get relief.

Women's Health Care and COVID-19: What You Should Know

You’re worried about the coronavirus, so you’re afraid to go to your OB/GYN. But maintaining your health (and if you’re pregnant, your baby’s health) is your best defense against COVID-19. Here’s how you can stay safe and still get the care you need.

When PMS Is Problematic

According to the Office on Women’s Health, about 90% of women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But when PMS interferes with your quality of life and daily activities, you may need a doctor’s help to feel like yourself again.