You may not think you need to get a well woman exam every year; after all, you only need a Pap smear once every three years if you’re between the ages of 21 and 65. But a whole lot more is included in well woman exams than Pap smears.
Getting a well woman exam every year is so important that almost all insurance companies are required to cover them at no cost to you, according to the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Edward J. Ramirez of The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF explains more about why these annual exams are so crucial and what happens during them.
What’s included in a well woman exam
If you also get an annual physical from your general practitioner, you may wonder why you need a separate well woman exam, too. Don’t they cover the same thing?
Well, no. Well woman exams include so much more than physicals, including the following:
- Collecting information about your physical and mental health
- Asking questions about your sexual health, including contraception
- Providing a pelvic exam, even if you’re not getting a Pap smear
- Doing breast exams, which are more involved than self-exams done at home
In addition, your annual well woman exam is important to let you develop a working relationship with your doctor. The more often you talk with Dr. Ramirez, the more comfortable you should feel in being completely honest with him. That honesty can only benefit you, because he can’t help with issues if he doesn’t know about them.
Your sexual health
We understand that talking about what’s going on “down there” can be extremely embarrassing for many people. Most of us feel that we’re supposed to keep such details relatively private. However, your doctor needs to know, because he can help you with issues related to this important part of your body.
Some of the things he’ll discuss with you include:
- The types of sexual activity you’re having, including the types and number of partner(s). He only needs to know this to appropriately determine which practices may be risky and how to protect yourself.
- What you’re using for contraception, if applicable
- Whether you are satisfied with your current contraception method
- Whether you are trying to conceive (or if you will be soon)
- What your menstrual periods are like
All of your answers to the above questions play a significant role in what Dr. Ramirez decides to do next to help you. There’s no downside to the appointment; it’s in your and your health’s best interests.
Making a plan for a healthier future
If you make and keep an appointment for an annual wellness exam, your doctor can do so much to help you. One of the most important things he can do is to help you reach your health goals, whether you want to conceive, quit smoking, or lose weight. All of these issues are much better achieved when you seek a doctor’s assistance.
If you would like to schedule your next annual well woman exam, there’s no better time to do it than at the beginning of the year. You’ll have it out of the way and can spend the rest of the year focusing on other important issues. Contact Dr. Edward J. Ramirez today at The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF in Monterey, California, or request an appointment online.