An annual exam (or “well woman visit”) at My Choice focuses on preventative health and age-related guidance/education on your reproductive health and overall wellness. We also perform physical exams and do all appropriate screenings to assure early detection of any potential health concerns. During the annual exam you can expect us to include:
- A complete review of your medical/family/reproductive history
- Screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Cervical Cancer Screenings (“Pap Smear”), when appropriate
- Breast & Pelvic exam
- Referrals for mammograms, DEXA scans, ultrasounds, etc.
The annual visit is also a great time to discuss birth control and/or family planning. If you have concerns regarding your cycles, your overall health/wellness, weight loss, mental health, etc.. your doctor or nurse practitioner can give valuable information and guidance.
Most women begin their annual exam during their teenage years. Not all teenagers will need or want a pelvic exam, but it provides an opportunity to discuss any concerns with your menstrual cycle, sexual activity/STI testing, birth control options, etc..
How often do I need a Pap Smear?
Usually, Pap Smears are recommended for women starting at 21 years old. A Pap Smear is a screening used to detect early signs of cervical cancer. For this exam, your provider collects a small sample of cells from your cervix.
For most women, Pap Smears are recommended every 3 years from age 21-65. After you turn 30, you may elect to get a Pap Smear every 5 years if you include HPV testing as well. If your test results have been normal, and you are not at high risk, you may stop getting Pap Smears after you turn 65. Your provider may recommend more frequent screenings depending on your situation or risk factors.