• Why An Annual Well Woman Exam is So Important

    on Oct 2nd, 2017


Why An Annual Well Woman Exam is So Important


It’s probably safe to assume that few women like to visit their OBGYN or family doctor for their routine gynecological exam. There are many, many things higher on the list of things you would rather do than, say, have a pap smear performed. While your annual well-woman exam may not be high on your list of preferred things to do, it’s certainly near the top of the list when it comes to things you must do to safeguard your health. Many potentially serious health conditions can be caught in early stages if you go every year for your well-woman exam. That’s because many illnesses and diseases don’t display symptoms until they’ve advanced. Catching them early before symptoms appear can make treatment easier and more likely to succeed. Remember, preventative care and early intervention is key to living a long, healthy life.


Why the focus needs to be on early intervention

Many of us have come across stories online or on TV that demonstrates how a routine exam ended up saving someone’s life from an illness they didn’t even know they had. Even if you think you’re the picture of health and take great care of yourself, you never know when you could be developing something serious that is still mostly undetectable. The classic symptoms like bleeding or pain or discharge don’t appear until a disease has spread to other tissues. Treatment can become more complicated once you reach the symptoms stage of an illness, particularly if the issue is cancer.

During your well-woman exam, issues that are checked aren’t just gynecological in nature. You’ll also have a breast exam in order to try and identify any issues, especially breast cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis is rising globally, so you need to be checked for it regularly. The key to successfully treating breast cancer is early intervention.

What kinds of illnesses or abnormalities is your doctor looking for during your well-woman exam? Well, it’s a general status check of your health, so anything out of the ordinary. However, there are some main things that can be spotted during the procedure and any testing that is performed during it.


What kinds of things are you checked for?

Here are a few of the major things that can be detected during your well-woman exam.


HPV

The human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the world. It’s believed about a quarter of the population is carrying some strain of it. There are different kinds of HPV and they can range in their effects. Many people never display symptoms and therefore don’t know that they are a carrier. However, your doctor will check for HPV because certain strains of the virus that can be transmitted during sexual intercourse can significantly raise your chances of developing cervical cancer. In fact, it’s believed most cervical cancer develops as a result of HPV infection.


Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer can be difficult to detect early on without the aid of a pap smear. Like other life-threatening cancers, the telltale signs of heavy bleeding and discharge take a while to manifest. They can also be symptoms of other, less serious conditions. If you do have cervical cancer, the best outcome would be to discover it early thanks to your annual pap smear. You may even discover it as precancerous cells before cancer actually begins. An abnormal pap smear result can mean many things, so don’t panic if your doctor says your results came back abnormal. Understand, though, that in rare cases it may indeed a case of cervical cancer is caught early.


Breast cancer

Breast cancer is, unfortunately, a leading cause of death in women in many countries. However, you aren’t powerless. If you catch it early thanks to a routine exam, your chances of successfully treating it are much higher than if you catch it at an advanced stage. Your doctor will check for lumps and any other cues of something being amiss. You’ll also discuss ways you can check yourself throughout the year. It’s very important to do self-checks and not just check once a year with your doctor.


Conclusion

Your annual well-woman exam is a robust examination of your health. You’ll be asked many questions as part of your health history to give clues as to what to check for. You’ll also undergo a physical exam to check important vitals. A breast exam will be delivered along with a pelvic exam that may include a pap smear depending on your age. If you haven’t gone for your exam in recently or you’re just coming up on a year, book an appointment online with us today to schedule your exam. It’ll give you peace of mind and can end up saving your life.

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