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How Annual Checkups Keep Women Well

Many women don’t visit a doctor for a regular well-women checkups. Although this annual exam may not be at the top of a list of things to do, a well woman checkup is an important part of safeguarding each woman’s health. When caught in the early stages, many serious health conditions can be easily treated. Many illnesses and diseases do not show symptoms until the conditions are advanced so that a well woman checkup can be a lifesaver.

Who should have a well woman checkup

Well women checkups are annual examinations during which women get a pelvic examination and can discuss any health concerns with a doctor. The visit can vary depending on the woman’s age, medical history, and sexual history. The first well woman checkup usually takes place around 13-15 years of age. The doctor or nurse will usually check the woman’s weight, height, and blood pressure. At the age of 21 women will need to start having regular Pap tests, pelvic examinations, and breast examinations.

Typical well woman checkup tests and examinations

Usually, the following tests and examinations are performed during a regular well woman checkup. There are three major screenings performed during exams that can all prevent life-threatening conditions.

HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases throughout the world. There are different types of HPV, and each has different effects. Because many people never have symptoms, many men and women carry the virus without knowing. An estimated 25% of the population carries some strain of HPV. The doctor checks for HPV because some strains can increase the risk of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer can be hard to detect early which is why women should have a regular pap smear. Like many types of cancer, the signs of cervical cancer take a while to appear. A regular pap smear test can help the doctor discover precancerous cells and thus prevent cervical cancer.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women in the U.S. Once again, if the disease is caught early during well woman checkup, a woman has a much better chance of successful treatment rather than if cancer is caught at an advanced stage. The doctor will check for lumps and any other signs that something is wrong.

Keep each well woman appointment

The annual well woman checkup is an important examination for women and should not be avoided. As well as undergoing the above tests and exams, each woman will discuss medical history and any health concerns. Any women who has not been for a well woman checkup in the past year should schedule an exam. This type of exam could be a lifesaver.