What does a women’s health exam include?
A women’s health exam focuses on your unique health concerns. These visits at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge include preventive care, counseling, and education about your reproductive health and overall wellness as a woman.
If you’re going through menopause, the practice helps you navigate the change of life with treatment such as hormone replacement therapy.
What screening tests should I expect?
Your women’s health exam typically includes tests to look for signs of cancer or disease, such as:
If you’re due for a Pap test, your provider performs this quick procedure, which helps protect you from cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is common, but highly treatable if caught early.
Most women between the ages of 21-65 need a Pap test. Combining this test with a check for human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease linked to cervical cancer, is common.
Your provider at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge discusses which test or tests are best for you.
What happens during a Pap test?
Your Pap test or Pap smear takes place in an exam room. You undress from the waist down and recline on the exam table. Your provider inserts an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to provide a clear view of your cervix.
They use a soft brush or similar tool to collect a sample of cells from the outside of your cervix. Your provider sends the cells to a laboratory for testing for signs of cervical abnormalities, HPV, or both. If your results are abnormal, your provider contacts you to discuss follow-up care.
Does everyone need a Pap test?
Most women benefit from a regular Pap test. Your provider may make an exception in only a few cases, such as for:
Women without a cervix
If you’ve had a hysterectomy, you may not need a Pap test. However, your doctor checks first to make sure of no history of cervical cancer or abnormal Pap test results before recommending skipping a Pap smear.
Women older than 65
If you’re over age 65 and have had three normal Pap tests or two normal co-tests in a row within the last decade, you may not need a test. However, the most recent test must have occurred in the previous five years.
Always talk to your provider before stopping regular Pap tests.
If it’s time for your women’s health exam, or you have questions about the tests that are appropriate for you, call today or schedule a consultation online at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge.