Annual exam can catch problems early

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May. 01, 2019

An annual well-woman exam is a great opportunity for women to take charge of their health, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

The exam can help detect healthcare problems early, and even prevent them before they occur. The exam is an opportunity for a woman and her gynecologist to discuss age-relevant health information, potential risk factors, and learn about preventative screening tests.

At an annual exam, a woman and her doctor may discuss the following:

  • Pap smear—ensure that testing is up to date to decrease the risk for cervical cancer. This may include a screening test for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Screening for blood and vaginal infections—includes the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases (syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis), and other vaginal infections.
  • Menstrual cycle—includes painful periods, heaving bleeding, as well as treatments for women who are menopausal or post-menopausal.
  • Contraception—includes birth control pills, intrauterine device (IUD), patch, condoms, or implant.
  • Breast exam—may include a mammogram.

Additionally, screenings may be done for depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, and bone density (for osteoporosis).

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