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Comprehensive wellness for females of all ages

Going to the gynecologist is not something you necessarily look forward to. But as a woman, this annual appointment is essential for disease prevention and your relationship with your OB-Gyn is a critical part of your healthcare at every stage in your life.

Although the guidelines have changed for Pap smears — the test that serves as your cervical cancer screening — and you may not need one every year, that doesn’t mean you should skip your annual well woman exam.

In addition to Pap smears, your Ob-Gyn:

  • Provides birth control guidance
  • Manages heavy period bleeding and PMS symptoms
  • Screens for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Addresses sexuality concerns
  • Performs a pelvic examination
  • Checks for any breast changes or abnormalities
  • Offers pre-pregnancy advice
  • Addresses infertility causes and concerns
  • Manages general health and wellness, including immunizations
  • Diagnoses and manages menopausal symptoms
  • Manages mammography and osteoporosis screening
  • Diagnoses and treats female conditions, including: premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and plycysteic ovarian syndrome (POS)
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Do I need a pelvic exam every year?

Although the guidelines have changed for Pap smears — the test that serves as your cervical cancer screening — and you may not need one every year, that doesn’t mean you should skip your annual well woman exam.

It’s important to remember that a Pap smear is only one part of your annual well woman visit — although it’s usually the most memorable. Pap smears are part of the overall pelvic exam, which is arguably one of the most critical components of your annual appointment.

During a pelvic exam, your doctor conducts this exam to look at the external genital organs and to evaluate the health of your internal pelvic organs such as the uterus, cervix, ovaries, even your bladder.

Women's screening recommendations

Ages 21-29

Pap smear test

Every three years

Ages 30-65

Pap smear test
HPV DNA test

Every five years

Ages 65+

No screening

Unless you've had serious cervical pre-cancer or cancer within the last 20 years

Do I need a breast exam if I'm under the age of 40?

Breast exams also are an important part of your well woman visit. In conjunction with your own personal self-breast exam, your OB/GYN is one of the only physicians on your personal care team who will examine your breasts for signs of cancer every year.

If you are age 40-45 and do not have risk factors for breast cancer, you and your doctor will decide together the frequency of your mammograms. However, if you are considered high risk, your doctor will follow the standard recommendations.

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Expert advice from our blog

Scrubbing In® is a place where hands-on healthcare discussions are happening every day with the people whose own hands are on the front lines of patient care, the doctors, nurses and medical staff who are saving lives and advancing medicine.

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