What to expect at a women’s wellness exam

women's wellness exam

Many women prioritize the health of their loved ones over their own, often neglecting their own wellness needs. It’s important to take care of yourself, even when you’re busy looking after others. These once-a-year checkups help keep you healthy and catch any problems early.

But what exactly can you expect during these appointments, and how can you prepare for them?

What is a women’s wellness exam?

A women’s wellness exam, also known as a well-woman visit, is a comprehensive checkup focused on your reproductive health and overall well-being.

The specifics of your exam may vary based on factors such as your age and medical history. However, typical components include:

  • Wellness screening: Checking vital signs, including your weight, height, temperature, and blood pressure.
  • Breast exam: Checking for any abnormal lumps or possible cysts.
  • Pelvic exam: Your doctor may do a pelvic exam to asses the health of your vagina, uterus, ovaries, and cervix.
  • Pap test: After reviewing your personal history, your provider may do a Pap test as part of your pelvic exam to check for signs of human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. If previous Pap test results have been normal, these screenings are conducted every three to five years. If you’ve had abnormal results in the past, your doctor may recommend them more often.
  • Blood work: Screening for various health markers to assess overall health may be included as part of your exam, depending on your age, medical history, risk factors, and doctor’s recommendations.
  • Discussion of your concerns: This is an opportunity to address any of your questions or concerns, including menstrual health, family planning, and non-gynecological concerns.

Annual wellness exams are vital for every woman’s health. They help detect issues early and ensure you’re taking proactive steps to stay healthy and happy.

Dr. Enjoli Benitez

Chief Medical Officer, Vecino Health Centers

How to prepare for a women’s wellness exam

  • Time your appointment: If possible, avoid scheduling your appointment during your period to ensure accurate test results.
  • Make a couple of lists: Make a list of any medications you are taking, past health conditions, and the timing of recent menstrual cycles.
  • Write down your questions: Jot down any concerns or questions beforehand to be sure you ask them  during your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is the cost of well-woman exams covered by insurance?

Yes, well-woman exams are usually covered by health insurance.

At Vecino Health Centers, our services are affordable for all. A family sliding fee scale discount is available for cash patients if you don’t have insurance. Ask our representatives when making your appointment.

What if I don't have insurance?

Well-women’s exams are affordable for all at Vecino Health Centers. We can help you understand and apply for available options if you don’t have insurance. If you prefer to self-pay, a sliding fee scale is available so you pay based on what you can afford. 

How often should I get a well-woman exam?

It is recommended that women between the ages of 21 and 65 get a well-woman exam once a year.

Is a well-woman exam the same as a physical?

No, well-woman exams are more comprehensive than physical exams. A physical exam is part of a well-woman visit, but the focus of the exam is on the health of your female organs. 

How long does an well-woman exam take?

The exam itself takes about 10 to 15 minutes. After that, the doctor will take some time to to answer your questions and discuss any concerns. 

Do well-woman exams include STD testing?

STD testing depends on several factors, like your age and your risk factors (whether you have multiple sexual partners, past history of STDs, have a new partner, etc.). Of course, you can always request STD testing if you believe you may have been exposed.

Taking care of yourself with regular women’s wellness exams helps you stay healthy and catch any problems early. Remember, it’s important to look after yourself, too!

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