I am an advanced ObGyn in Colorado Springs Colorado. One of the most common types of appointments that I have as an ObGyn is routine annual exams. While routine, they make a big difference in reproductive health and general healthcare for women.
I recommend that women start having annual exams starting sometime in their early 20s or as soon as they become sexually active, whichever comes first.
Medical History and Vitals
When a patient comes into my practice for an annual exam, we take basic vital signs and then the next thing we cover is a review of her medical history. This is performed by a Medical Assistant.
My job, then, is to carefully go back over the patient’s medical history. We can then talk specifically about whatever problems you may be encountering at that time.
The Physical Exam
Typically, we perform a basic physical exam–concentrating primarily on the breast and pelvic areas.
During the breast exam, I look for any lumps or bumps, or other abnormalities that may exist in the breast tissues.
During the pelvic exam, we then obtain a pap smear, carefully ensuring that the ovaries and uterus feel normal.
We may not perform a pap smear every single year which is a somewhat common practice. There’s new data suggesting that if you’ve never had an abnormal pap smear, you don’t have to have a pap smear annually, but again this is all part of the conversation we will have where you can express your history and we can determine the best course of treatment if any is required.
Are You Having Normal Periods?
During your annual exam, we will spend some time talking about your menstrual cycle.
- Are they regular?
- Are they unpredictable?
- Are they fairly normal?
- Are we having problems with heavy bleeding or a painful period?
This is a time when we can start to determine if there are any issues that might need to be addressed.
How Often Do I Need A Regular Exam?
Unlike the Pap smear, I do recommend that women have a regular exam with an ObGyn every year.
This ensures that we’re staying on top of everything as it relates to women’s health and your overall health and wellness.
If you would like to make an appointment to talk about your specific situation, please contact my office and we can get you set up to come in.