Every woman should make a regular GYN wellness screening a part of their lifelong healthcare regimen. Annual GYN wellness screenings help women and their doctors detect health problems before they become serious or even deadly. How frequently a woman should have one and what the wellness screening exam entails depends on the woman’s age and her unique health profile.
Initial GYN Wellness Screening For Young Women Ages 13 To 15
Beginning around the onset of puberty and before a teenage girl becomes sexually active, she should have her first GYN wellness exam with a gynecologist. At this age, the gynecologist will become familiar with the patient’s overall medical history.
The gynecologist will ask about the onset of the patient’s menstrual cycle and determine her body mass index (BMI). The doctor will also check the patient’s height, weight and blood pressure. Shet likely will be screened for signs of the following conditions:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Eating disorders
- Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- Learning or behavioral disorders
- Substance abuse
- Sexual activity
This first wellness examination does not include a pelvic examination unless the patient has become sexually active. In those cases, the gynecologist will examine her for sexually transmitted diseases and treat any that may be present. In somecases, the patient will be vaccinated for HPV.
The gynecologist will also provide guidance about safe sex practices, contraceptives and the importance of annual wellness screenings and other preventive health services.
Annual GYN Wellness Screening For Sexually Active Teens & Women Ages 19 Through 39
Once a woman becomes sexually active or reaches the age of 19, the wellness exam includes additional procedures and tests. Women in this group are interested in reproductive health, including options for contraception, fertility and cancer screening.
These examinations should also include screenings for other health conditions that the primary care provider may have overlooked (for example,obesity, diabetes, hypertension and a variety of autoimmune diseases).
Specifically, the annual wellness exams for women over age 21 include pelvic exams and pap smears. These are key to early detection and treatment of a number of reproductive and pelvic health issues. Breast examinations begin once a woman reaches the age of 25.
Also, during the wellness exam for women in this age group, the gynecologist will examine the patient for common health conditions that can become very serious if left untreated, such as:
- Cancer, particularly breast, cervical and ovarian
- Pelvic infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Injuries caused by physical or sexual abuse
Annual GYN Wellness Screening For Women Ages 40 Through 64
Women in this group will begin experiencing changes in hormonal levels as they enter perimenopause and then menopause. The wellness examination includes many of the screenings previously mentioned, but for most patients in this age group, the examination will focus less on the patient’s fertility and more on health issues associated with the aging process.
New screenings will evaluate the patient’s hormone levels and overall wellness. Women can expect the wellness exam to screen for a wider range of health issues like:
- Bone density
- Colorectal disorders, including cancer
- Cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Annual Wellness Examinations For Women Age 65 & Older
As women age, they may think it is not necessary to see their gynecologist regularly. In fact, it is important for older women to continue with their annual GYN wellness exams to ensure healthy aging.
The gynecologist will provide women with information about preventing diseases that commonly affect aging patients, such as cardiovascular disease and depression. The doctor will evaluate the patient, refer her to a specialist if needed and monitor for a range of health issues, including:
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Skin cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia
- Injuries caused by accidents or falls
What Else Should You Expect During A GYN Wellness Screening?
No matter your age, during a GYN wellness exam, you will be asked questions about your lifestyle, overall health and medical history. You should answer these questions as honestly as possible to receive the best care. Your conversations with your health care provider are confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone without your consent.
Rest assured that conversations with your doctor or anyone in the doctor’s practice will remain private. Please speak openly about your alcohol or drug use (whether legal or otherwise), smoking, symptoms, infections and any other issue that could affect your health.
Contact The Women’s Health Experts For More Information
The health experts at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness specialize in women’s health. They are available to help you with your questions or talk to you about any health issues you may be experiencing. Contact them for more information and to schedule an appointment.