We encourage all women to be proactive with regularly scheduled annual exams. Before your next exam, here are a few things to keep in mind.
How should I prepare for my exam?
Women should be prepared to discuss their family medical history and be ready for questions about their menstrual cycle. Some of the most commonly asked questions your provider may ask include:
- When was your last period?
- How long does your period typically last?
- What age did you start your period?
- Are you sexually active?
What should I expect for my annual exam?
The pelvic exam, which includes a pap smear, only lasts a few minutes and the exam itself doesn’t hurt. Your doctor will explain the process before beginning the exam. The annual exam typically consists of the following steps:
- Breast Exam. Your doctor will typically begin the annual exam with a breast exam to check for lumps that may be a sign of cancer.
- External Check. Your physician will then check the external genital area for irritations, cysts or other problems.
- Internal Check. Next, the physician will conduct a pap smear to check for cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. The final step in the physical exam includes a check of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Note: For patients age 40 and over, we highly recommend a mammography screening.
Not only does the annual exam ensure that you maintain good gynecological health, but is an opportunity for early detection of health problems. Depending on test results, your doctor will notify you if additional follow-up is needed.
To schedule an appointment, call our office at (229) 241-2800.