Annual women’s wellness exams, or well-woman visits, are an essential part of healthcare. While going to the doctor is not anyone’s favorite thing to do, it’s one of the most important things you can do to improve and protect your health in the long-term. And it’s not just important because of cancer screenings, there are many aspects of a well-woman visit that make it an essential part of healthcare.
1. Building a Relationship with Your Provider
Having good relationships with your healthcare providers is a key part in ensuring you get the care you need when you need it. Your provider needs to see you regularly so they get to know you and become familiar with you and your individual needs. You need to see them regularly so you get to know them and how they work. This will also help make you comfortable enough to discuss whatever health issues that you need to. Perhaps most importantly, having regular visits with your provider will build a foundation of trust.
2. Stay Up-to-Date With Preventive Care
Just like getting a regular physical from your primary care provider, getting an annual women’s wellness exam is a key part of preventive healthcare. Preventive care is medical care you get to prevent illnesses or diseases in the future. These exams also include counseling and education to help you take an active role in improving and protecting your health.
3. Screenings for Early Detection
Your annual well-woman exam is essential because your provider can do regular screenings to detect serious health issues early. Certain screenings like Pap smears are considered part of preventive care. Some of these screenings may include:
- Pap test/Pap smear for cervical cancer screening
- HPV testing for cervical cancer screening
- Breast examination and cancer screening
- HIV & STD screenings
Not all of these screenings are recommended for all patients. Some of them are performed regularly, but not every year. It depends on individual patient circumstances, health guidelines, and provider recommendations. For example, cervical cancer screening (with a Pap smear or HPV test) has a set of standard guidelines recommended by the National Cancer Institute but certain people need to be screened more frequently.
4. Regular Appointments Establish Health Trends
Staying up-to-date with your annual women’s health exam can help your healthcare provider establish health trends. This is important for tracking your baseline vitals like heart rate and blood pressure. Having a regular record of this information can help detect irregularities that may be signs of health conditions.
5. You’ll Get Specialized Care
Some women may think getting an annual physical from their primary care provider is all the preventive care they need. While these annual exams are important, a women’s wellness exam is also essential. A provider that specializes in women’s health, like a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM), is uniquely qualified to talk about things relating to reproductive health and other issues specific to women. These issues include:
- Birth control counseling
- Irregular periods
- Painful or heavy periods
- Pelvic pain
- STD testing
- Vaginal discomfort (itching, discharge, smell)
- Changes in sexual partners or habits
- Pain during sex
- Pregnancy planning
6. You Can Discuss Other Concerns
While your annual women’s wellness exam is generally focused on your reproductive health, it’s not limited to those topics. In fact, some women consider their women’s healthcare provider to be their primary care physician and consult them on other aspects of health. At a women’s wellness exam you can discuss general health concerns like:
- Weight management
- Nutritional assessment or counseling
- Mental health issues
- Overall wellness goals
Contact a Certified Nurse-Midwife
The Certified Nurse-Midwives of the City of Oaks Midwifery provide comprehensive and holistic care to their patients in the Raleigh, NC area. That includes providing quality preventive care through annual women’s wellness exams. Call (919) 351-8253 to schedule an appointment.
*During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still seeing OB patients for regular appointments and GYN patients for appointments addressing urgent needs. If you need regular GYN care like a well-woman visit, please contact us for guidance.
We ask that any patient with upper respiratory symptoms call our office for directions rather than coming in. We do not currently have testing capabilities and need to limit possible exposure to other patients.