According to the American Cancer Society, over 19,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Sadly, more than 13,000 will die from this cancer.
Sadly, ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancer deaths among women. While it can affect women of any age, older women are more at risk.
Much like seeing a regular doctor for an annual checkup, you should visit a gynecologist or schedule a Well Woman Visit to screen your health as a woman. These checkups include important medical screening exams that can detect health problems early on.
If you want to know what benefits you gain from a Well Woman Visit, keep reading. Here are eight advantages of this preventative care checkup.
In this article
1. You Discover a Health Baseline
When you have a Well Woman Visit, your medical provider will complete an entire medical history. They will enquire about any surgeries or medical procedures you have undergone, ask several questions regarding your menstrual cycle, and ask about any medication you may be on.
By doing this, your medical provider can get a good baseline of your health status. This way, your doctor can quickly notice if something significant changes. Sudden changes in your health may indicate medical problems arising.
2. Overall Health Check
Your doctor will give you an overall health check during a Well Woman exam. They will chart several things, such as your:
Along with these checks, your medical provider will also do a regular checkup, including checking your eyes and ears and listening to your lungs. This check covers all health aspects and doesn’t exclusively focus on your reproductive health.
3. You Undergo a Breast Exam
Records show that around 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. For this reason, getting an annual breast exam can mean early cancer detection. This gives you a higher chance of getting rid of it and going into remission.
A medical professional performs a breast exam to detect abnormalities in your breast tissue. Finding a lump in your breast means getting it medically assessed immediately. Your doctor may also require you to undergo a mammogram to better evaluate the node.
4. An Essential Pelvic Exam
One of the most common reasons women book a Well Woman Visit is to get an annual pelvic exam. A medical professional performs this exam, and it’s completed to identify any abnormalities in your reproductive parts, such as your uterus or ovaries.
A doctor performs this exam by inserting two fingers into the vagina. Simultaneously their other hand presses down on your lower abdomen. This way, the doctor can feel any lumps or irregularities. Should your medical provider have concerns, they may require you to get an ultrasound for further diagnosis.
5. Discuss Birth Control Options
No matter your age, if you’re sexually active, you should be scheduling an annual Well Woman Visit. During this visit, one of the benefits you have is you can discuss your birth control requirements with your doctor. There are several options for birth control these days, such as:
- The Pill
- An IUD
- Contraceptive Injection
Your medical practitioner will advise which method is most suitable for your needs. Additionally, if you experience any side effects, you can also discuss this with your doctor.
You can also use this Well Woman Visit to raise questions about these birth control methods to make an informed decision.
6. Screening For STDs
Again, if you’re sexually active, especially with multiple partners, you should be regularly screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections. For example, genital herpes, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, etc.
Sexually transmitted illnesses can be transmitted when an infected person engages in sexual contact with an uninfected person. Using condoms is one of the only ways to protect yourself against getting an STD. It’s essential to screen yourself for your STDs because some (i.e., HIV), if left untreated, can be fatal.
7. There’s Little To No Cost
Well Well-woman visits can be scheduled at health centers like Planned Parenthood. You may qualify for a free or low-cost Well Woman exam if you don’t have money or insurance to afford it.
If you have health insurance, then your Well Woman Visit should be covered by your insurance with no extra payments required from you. This is under the Affordable Care Act regarding preventative care services. You’re entitled to a Well Woman exam every year until you turn 65, whereafter you should have Medicare.
8. Free Pap Smear
A pap smear aims to screen for HPV or the human papillomavirus. This virus can cause various cancers like cervical and cancer of the vulva or vagina, so early detection is vital. Additionally, this virus can cause cancer in the back of the throat.
You will receive a free pap smear at your Well Woman Visit, which you should regularly schedule once you turn 21. This test requires the medical provider to scrape a sample of cells from the cervix gently. This is done using a small spatula or brush, like a Q-tip. The sample is sent to a laboratory and is checked for problems or changes.
Schedule Your Well Woman Visit Today For Better Health
Nowadays, going to the doctor only when sick is becoming less common. Instead, women are booking regular Well Woman Visits yearly to have their overall and reproductive health checked.
When scheduling a regular Well Woman exam, you get screened for STDs, receive a free pap smear to detect signs of cervical cancer, discuss birth control options, and undergo a pelvic exam. If you’ve turned 21 or are sexually active, book your Well Woman Visit as soon as possible.
If you’ve found this article helpful, read more in our Health, Education, and Lifestyle sections. You’re sure to find something else interesting.