Regular well-woman exams are a cornerstone of your health and wellness and a need that should never be overlooked. Shirley Rigaud-Echols, MD, and the all-female team of providers at Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates in Decatur, Georgia, offer outstanding well-woman exams and can help you get the care and screenings you need. Booking is fast and easy using the online scheduling tool, or you can always call the office to check appointment availability.
A well-woman exam is a routine health visit focused on addressing your women’s health needs. Much of the exam focuses on reproductive health, but other health concerns are also addressed during well-woman exams.
Most women benefit from annual well-woman exams. If you need to come in more or less frequently, your provider at Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates will advise you on the schedule that is right for you.
In general, young women begin coming in for well-woman exams in their late teens. These visits continue as you move through the stages of life. During your visits, the team provides preventive health services like screenings, vaccinations, and counseling.
The initial portion of your visit is dedicated to gathering routine health data to add to your medical record. You’ll discuss any changes you’ve noticed or areas of concern you have.
A pelvic exam follows, which is a swift and painless process. You’ll recline on the exam table or chair and place your feet in special supports.
Your provider will insert a device called a speculum into your vagina to separate your vaginal walls. This allows them to check your internal tissues. There is no pain during this process, and they will explain what to expect as you go along.
A Pap smear is an essential part of the pelvic exam and is a powerful screening tool for cervical cancer. Your provider uses a special swab, spatula, or brush to gather a small number of cells from your cervix. Those cells are then examined under a microscope to look for signs of cancerous changes. If abnormalities are found, Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates offers additional screening to determine the cause.
Pap smear testing allows your health team to detect cervical cancer in the earliest possible stages. For women who develop this form of cancer, early detection enables early interventions, which can greatly improve outcomes.
If you are having your period during your scheduled exam time, call the office to determine if you need to reschedule. It can be difficult to get an accurate Pap smear during menstruation.
Otherwise, the best way to prepare for your exam is to write down any questions you have. It’s easy to forget things once the exam is underway, and you want to make sure you get all the information you need to stay healthy.
Your well-woman exam is your opportunity to ask questions about birth control, family planning, fertility, menopause, sexual health, or any other women’s health issues. You can also ask your provider about wellness issues like supplements, relaxation techniques, and how to achieve more balance in your life.
If you’re overdue for a well-woman exam, call the office today to set up your visit. You can also try the easy online booking tool, which allows you to schedule from home, any time of day or night.