The women’s wellness exam promotes health and early detection of disease. It also gives you an opportunity to learn about healthy habits and ways to take care of yourself throughout your lifetime.
The exam consists of a health history with a pelvic and breast exam. Your doctor may ask you about your menstrual cycles, pregnancy history, contraceptive use, family history, and medical problems.
During the breast exam, the doctor will evaluate the skin of the breast for any discolorations or dimpling. The breast tissue will also be touched in its entirety to evaluate for any lumps or masses under the skin.
The external genitalia (vulva) and internal organs (cervix, uterus, and ovaries) are evaluated in the pelvic exam. The doctor will look at the outer areas and then insert a speculum into the vagina to see the cervix. A Pap smear may be taken, by scraping the surface of the cervix with a small brush. Samples of discharge may also be collected to check for STDs or vaginal infections. After the speculum is removed, your doctor will insert two fingers into the vagina and press on your abdomen with the other hand. In this way, the size and shape of your uterus and ovaries can be evaluated to see if you have any growths or masses.
You will have the opportunity to ask questions about all aspects of your health. It is a good idea to write down your questions before you come to the exam so you are sure to get all the information you need.