A well woman exam is performed to check the health of the female organs: the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and breasts. This is a very important check-up to undergo once a year.
Do you see adolescents for the well woman exam?
Yes. We see women of all ages for the well woman exam. We also tailor the extent of the exam based on any menstrual concerns, complaints of pain, and sexual activity. Not every adolescent needs a full pelvic exam. This is also a good time to review any concerns about puberty, menses, etc., and correct any misinformation.
When should women begin getting the well woman exam?
According to ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology), breast and pelvic exams as a part of the yearly well woman exam should be included starting at age 19. However, our recommendations are to initiate a tailored well woman exam at ages 15-18, as many young women have concerns at this time about what is normal vs. abnormal, may be shy to disclose concerns to the adults in their family, and may be at risk for exposure to STIs.
Does the well woman exam check for STDs?
It’s important to know that most well woman exams do not automatically include testing for sexually transmitted diseases, unless you are showing symptoms. If you would like to be tested for STDs, please bring this up with us. Per the USPTF (United States Preventive Task Force), routine screening for gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis is recommended for all women engaged in high-risk sexual activity (using condoms inconsistently, having sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, having a new partner, or having multiple current partners). The USPTF further recommends gonorrhea and chlamydia screening for all sexually active women younger than age 25 years (including adolescents), even if they are NOT engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors. Younger women have a higher risk of gonorrhea and chlamydia infection than older women. The USPSTF does not recommend STI screening for women age 25 or older who do not engage in high-risk sexual behavior. The USPSTF does not recommend screening asymptomatic women for hepatitis B and herpes simplex virus. Other STIs that can be screened for can include hepatitis C, trichomonas, ureaplasma, and mycoplasma.