Why Women’s Wellness Exams Are Always a Good Idea

Family Practice Associates, Women’s Wellness Exams, Broomfield, Colorado,

Here at Family Practice Associates, we understand that good health isn’t just a concept — it’s a multifaceted and ever-evolving pursuit that requires ongoing dedication.

We also know that one of the best ways to protect your overall well-being is by staying up-to-date on the routine preventive exams and recommended screenings. These give you an accurate snapshot of your current health and help identify factors that increase your risk of developing a chronic illness.

That’s why, even if you’ve already decided that 2019 is the year that you’re finally going to eat healthier, exercise more, decrease stress, get more sleep, or drop a few pounds, there’s another important health-related goal you should put at the top of your list: scheduling your next well-woman exam.

Read on to discover how your annual well-woman exam can help you stay on top of your health.

Protection through prevention

You’ve heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” right? Well, when it comes to protecting your long-term health, nothing could be closer to the truth.

As the cornerstone of preventive care in women’s medicine, the annual well-woman exam aims to provide a full menu of preventive care services, including:

Health history review

Before the exam portion of your well-woman visit, it’s important to go over your detailed personal medical history, including your gynecologic, obstetric, and mental health history, as well as your family medical history, including any known genetic history of chronic illness or cancer.

Routine pelvic exam

This part of the well-woman exam helps determine if your vulva and labia (outer sexual parts) are healthy. It also helps determine if there are any problems with your internal sexual organs — your vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries.  

If you’re between the ages of 21 and 65, your pelvic exam may also include a Pap smear. This quick test, which is designed to detect abnormal cells in your cervix, is an indispensable tool in cervical cancer prevention. Finding and removing abnormal cells before they can evolve prevents cervical cancer over 95% of the time.

A Pap test is generally recommended every three years for women ages 21-65. After you turn 30, you may continue having a Pap test every three years or start having a Pap smear along with an HPV screening every five years. If you have a higher cervical cancer risk, you may require more frequent Pap tests.

Manual breast exam

During the breast exam portion of your physical, we check your breasts for visible signs of breast disease, such as dimpling, nipple inversion, redness, or swelling.

We also gently and systematically press all areas of breast tissue to check for lumps or thickening. If you don’t already perform monthly breast self-exams, your well-woman exam is a great time to learn exactly how to do it and what to look for, so you can give yourself the best possible protection against breast cancer between visits.  

Even if your breast exam is normal, we may advise you to schedule a follow-up mammogram if you have a family history of breast cancer, you recently turned 40, or you’re over 40 and are due for your annual mammogram.

You direct the conversation

After the physical portion of your well-woman exam is complete, you have plenty of time to talk or ask questions about any health-related issue that’s on your mind — everything you say is confidential, and absolutely nothing is off the table.   

Your well-woman exam is an opportune time to discuss menstrual cycle abnormalities or address any concerns you may have about sex, including questions about painful intercourse, libido problems, or sexually transmitted diseases.

Depending on your stage in life, you may want to use your well-woman visit to learn about your birth control options, receive preconception counseling, talk about fertility problems, or get help with menopause symptoms.

If you’re ready to take control of your health, call our office in Broomfield, Colorado, or use our easy online booking tool to schedule your next well-woman exam today.

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