General GYN Services
Annual Gynecological Exams:
What to Expect
Women should have this exam completed once a year. The exam typically includes a health history: including questions regarding your menstrual cycle, and sexual activity. Blood Pressure and Weight are obtained and a Pelvic and Breast exam is performed.
Your annual Well Woman exam is the perfect time to speak with your provider about concerns or questions you may have, pertaining to sex, menstrual or genital problems, breast issues, birth control, STI risk, weight and smoking cessation.
Although no one likes to have a pelvic exam done, it's very important to your health now as well as in the future. This exam may seem invasive, but it helps to make sure that your reproductive organs are healthy and allows your health care provider to potentially detect medical conditions (such as infections or abnormal Pap smears) that could become serious if not treated. This exam is usually not painful; however it can be uncomfortable at times. During the pelvic exam is when the provider will check/test for STI’s and perform a Pap screening if needed.
Women who are sexually active or are considering becoming sexually active should visit a gynecologist in order to help protect their sexual health, however not every woman needs a pap screening. New guidelines recommend a woman to have her first Pap screening at age 21.
Breast exams can also be somewhat embarrassing. However it is an important part of the Annual Well Woman exam. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) currently recommend screening for breast lumps through a clinical breast exam at age 20. At your visit your provider will perform a clinical breast exam, as well as teach you proper technique to adequately perform a monthly self breast exam. Should an abnormality be discovered your provider will give you a referral for further evaluation. ACOG also recommends Routine Screening Mammogram for women beginning at 40 years of age. At McLaren Oakland Family Planning we will help you obtain the referral for your annual mammogram.
Information to Know Before Your Visit
It is a good idea to create a list of questions and problems before your appointment.
It’s important for us to know about any irregular vaginal bleeding, discharge, odor, or pain, it also helps to come to the appointment knowing the when your last period was and how long your periods typically last.
You should abstain from sexual intercourse for approximately two days before your scheduled appointment, as sexual activity may irritate the vaginal tissue and increase the chance of incorrect Pap test results.