You've heard the term "prevention is the best medicine." The team at Columbus Women's Care couldn't agree with this more as it pertains to your reproductive health! This is why we encourage our patients to visit us every year for a routine well-woman exam.
Well-woman exams are an integral part of maintaining optimal health and wellness. These annual visits focus on screenings for breast and gynecological disease as well as important matters like birth control and family planning. If you haven't yet had your well-woman exam this year, contact our office at (614) 755-4200 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cherie A. Richey.
What Happens During a Well-Woman Visit with My Gynecologist?
Your annual well-woman exam is part conversation, part physical exam. During your appointment, Dr. Richey will review your medical history and ask you questions about your overall health as well as your sexual and reproductive health. She'll answer any questions you have about important topics like birth control, STI screening, menopause or hormone changes, and more. This visit gives you the opportunity to learn how to best manage your health and wellness through safe-sex practices and necessary screenings like mammograms and pap smears.
What Does a Well-Woman Exam Include?
In general, there are a few common elements to each well-woman visit. These include:
- Taking your vital signs. These include your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. You may also give a urine sample during your visit.
- A clinical breast exam. As a normal practice, you should perform a self-exam of your breasts once a month. This is a simple check through feel, allowing you to notice changes like lumps, bumps, or irregular tenderness. During your appointment, the doctor will gently press on different areas of the breasts to identify potential abnormalities. If an abnormality is found, such as a lump, you may be sent for a mammogram. This non-invasive screening captures images of breast tissue. Cysts or other lumps are displayed as white spots on the dark film.
- A clinical pelvic exam. Your pelvic exam may have two parts, a pap smear and a manual examination of your ovaries. During the manual exam, the doctor can feel abnormal lumps or spot abnormal vaginal discharge. During your pap smear, a small instrument is used to capture a sample of cervical cells.
- Vaccines or tests. Depending on your current health, questions, and circumstances, your well-woman exam may include necessary vaccines or tests for relevant sexually-transmitted infections. The doctor will discuss her recommendations and reasoning during your pre-exam consultation.
How Long Will My Well-Woman Exam Take?
Your overall visit may take 30 to 45 minutes depending on your questions and conversation with Dr. Richey. The physical exam portion of your visit should take only 10 to 15 minutes. Each part, the breast exam and your pap smear, takes just a few minutes. The doctor can discuss with the steps of each part of the exam to help you feel more comfortable.
Schedule An Appointment
To schedule your annual well-woman visit at Columbus Women's Care, call (614) 755-4200 today! We're happy to answer your questions and get you set for a convenient appointment time!