How to Make the First Annual Well-Woman Exam Easier

We understand that attending your first annual well-woman exam can seem daunting, but we hope to assure patients that there is no need for stress, concern or worry. Annual well-woman exams are an important part of your healthcare, and attendance is highly recommended.

Part of the concern patients may feel prior to their first visit to PWOG stems from a lack of knowledge about the exam. What is going to happen? Will anything hurt? What kind of questions will I be asked? What if I want to start birth control? These are all valid concerns, and we hope to dispel them prior to that first appointment so you can visit our office confidently prepared.

What is an annual well-woman exam?
An annual exam provides important screening services for women. Your doctor will perform a general health checkup by asking questions about your lifestyle and any current concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing. He or she will let you know if a separate appointment is needed, if a symptom is present. The general health checkup will include a breast exam and Pap test. The breast exam is used to look for any changes or abnormalities in either breast that may require further screening. The Pap test allows your physician to collect cells from your cervix, which are then sent for analysis at a laboratory. If any abnormalities are present in the Pap test, your physician will reach out to discuss your results.

Will any part of the well-woman exam hurt?
In short, no. You should not experience pain or discomfort during an annual exam. PWOG physicians are trained to provide optimal comfort during the exam, including during the Pap test and breast exam. If at any point during the exam you are uncomfortable, please let your provider know so he or she can address the discomfort promptly. Discomfort during either exam could be a symptom of an underlying health issue, so it’s very important that your provider is made aware.

What kind of questions will I be asked?
Your provider will be interested to know how you are feeling generally and whether you are sexually active. Questions relating to sexual activity are kept entirely private and are only asked in order to give your physician the full picture of your health. If you are sexually active, your physician can discuss STD protection and contraception.

What if I want to start birth control?
Your PWOG physician will be happy to discuss birth control options with you during your well-woman exam, though he or she may ask that you book a separate appointment in order to complete your request or further discuss which form of contraception best suits your lifestyle. Birth control options at PWOG include the birth control pill, the IUD and Nexplanon.

Are you ready to schedule your annual well-woman exam at PWOG? Make an appointment today.

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