It’s important to schedule regular well woman visits. Well woman visits are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and help promote good overall health in women. Annual wellness exams for women should start around 18, or once woman is sexually active. It’s generally a good idea for young women to choose a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15, however.
Establishing care with a gynecologist at a younger age helps young women stay healthy, but it also provides the doctor with more information and helps establish a good patient-doctor relationship, both of which improve the quality of healthcare a woman receives. Here’s some information to help young women prepare for a first well woman visit.
What is a well woman exam?
Wellness exams for women are preventive care visits that focus on maintaining good overall health as well as reproductive health.
There are three main parts to a well woman visit.
- Your doctor or nurse will ask questions about lifestyle and habits to learn more about your health.
- They will perform a physical examination.
- Finally, they help you with counseling and establishing a game plan for your health.
The testing performed during a well woman visit depends on the age of the woman, whether or not she is sexually active, and her medical history.
Well woman visits might include a physical examination, vital checks, calculating BMI, shots, or screenings for disease or health problems.
Your doctor or nurse may also perform a clinical breast exam, pelvic exam, and/or pap smear.
Your doctor or nurse will always assess your overall health, ask questions about your lifestyle and habits, and provide education and counseling to help you make the best health choices.
How do you prepare for a well woman exam?
Preparing for a well woman exam can improve the quality of healthcare that you receive during your visit.
Your doctor might ask questions about:
- Personal medical history
- Family health history
- Sexual activity
- Eating and exercise habits
- Use of drugs and alcohol
- Mental health
Go into your well woman exam prepared to answer these questions.
You might feel uncomfortable at first discussing private information. It’s important to find a doctor that you’re comfortable with, and you should be confident that you can develop a good trusting relationship with them.
It’s essential to provide honest answers to questions so that your doctor can offer the best possible care.
Write down any questions you may have before your visit. It’s sometimes easy to forget important questions or concerns, so don’t take the chance of leaving without getting answers.
You may feel more comfortable with a friend or family member in the room with you. It’s important that you feel comfortable during your well woman visit, and we encourage you to bring someone if it makes your feel more comfortable.