A yearly gynecological exam is often referred to as a “well woman visit” or “annual visit.” It is recommended that women begin having annual well woman visits beginning at age 21 or the beginning of sexual activity, whichever comes first.
Now that guidelines surrounding annual pap smears have changed, many women feel there’s no need for an annual OB/GYN visit. However, there is much more involved in an annual visit than a pap test. Not only does your visit help to build a rapport with the individual who is privy to some of the most intimate details of your life, exams are also used as a well-woman checkup to assess other aspects of your health.
What to Expect
During your yearly exam, your provider may conduct a pelvic examination, PAP smear (cervical cancer screening), and a breast examination. Depending on your individual circumstances and concerns, your practitioner can also discuss topics relating to your overall gynecologic health, family planning, cancer screening, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual issues, bone health and menopause.