The well-woman exam is important because women need screening for breast and gynecologic cancers and to discuss any preventive and sexually transmitted disease screening. It is also a good time for pre-pregnancy counseling.
- During the well-woman exam, the doctor will ask the following:
- Alcohol consumption
- Sexual practices
- Menstrual cycles
Your doctor will conduct the following during the well-woman exam:
- Breast exam.
- Pelvic exam – to check for uterine or ovarian abnormalities and screen for cervical cancer.
- Depending on age, a mammogram or bone density scan may be ordered.
- Depending on age, a Pap smear and possibly a test for the human Papilloma virus (HPV) may be ordered.
An OB/GYN doctor or primary care physician can perform the exam. Customarily, only the doctor and their nurse or medical assistant will be in the room.
Although some women experience some discomfort during the pelvic exam, it should not be painful.
The breasts are inspected for changes in shape, skin texture and nipple discharge and lumps.
The labia and vagina are inspected for appropriate estrogen effects, lesions or discharge. A speculum, a medical tool for investigating body cavities, is placed in the vagina to evaluate the upper vagina and cervix and to perform a Pap smear.
Cultures may also be obtained to screen for sexually transmitted diseases depending on age and other circumstances. An exam is then performed to examine the uterus and ovaries.