Our San Antonio OBGYNs explain the importance of the annual wellness exam
Since the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidelines stating that most women don’t need an annual Pap test, some women may think that they don’t need an annual wellness exam. However, this isn’t true. The annual wellness exam involves much more than undergoing a Pap test. Our San Antonio OBGYNs want our patients to understand why it is so important to schedule a clinical wellness exam.
The elements of the wellness exam
When we see our patients each year, it’s a time for us to do several tasks.
- Review what has happened in their lives in the past year
- Look for and identify any potential medical issues
- Discuss preventive health care
- Offer help and counseling for issues like nutrition and relationships.
Your health history plays a role
The first part of your wellness exam involves providing a health and family history. Your family history is particularly important in terms of breast and ovarian cancer.
We also encourage our patients to ask us questions. No question is off limits, including sexual problems, problems with substance abuse or problems with domestic abuse.
The annual wellness exam involves several components
The general physical exam
As part of your exam, we always check your weight and your blood pressure. We will discuss nutrition with you, as well as ways to get and stay healthy. Your San Antonio OBGYN will discuss various tests that we recommend, based on your age and individual needs.
The clinical breast exam
During your exam, your doctor will do a clinical breast exam every one to three years if you are under age 40, and every year if you are 40 or older. This allows your OBGYN to look for lumps or any changes in your breast tissue. We also discuss breast self-awareness with our patients. This involves teaching them why it’s important to get to know the appearance and feel of breast tissue.
The pelvic exam
We know this is no one’s favorite part of a clinical wellness exam, but the pelvic exam provides us with a lot of information. The exam consists of an external exam of your genitalia and a speculum exam that allows us to see and examine your female reproductive organs.
Your doctor may also do a Pap test and an HPV testing to screen for cervical cancer, based on ACOG guidelines and your personal history.
We care about your overall health, so contact us to schedule your annual wellness exam today.