What to Expect During Your First Well-Woman Exam

Certain things are constants in taking care of yourself as a woman. Whether you’re 15 or 55, you should be coming in for an annual well-woman visit. 

It’s a great chance to focus on you, discuss your individual health needs, and get checked for female-specific health concerns. Your provider can talk to you about important things, like the HPV shot, or answer questions about pregnancy and hormonal changes that accompany menopause.

No matter what stage of life you’re enjoying, Dr. Michelle Tomlinson-Phelan and Dr. Catherine Schiano at Central Jersey Family Physicians prioritize preventive care as a cornerstone of good health. They treat you knowledgeably and offer a concerned and listening ear regarding your specific health concerns at every visit. 

Here’s why you need a well-woman exam and what you can expect at your appointment.

Why a well-woman exam? Isn’t a regular physical enough?

With a well-woman exam, you get the best of both worlds. We look at everything about your current health in a way that’s similar to a general physical, such as your blood pressure, weight, and health habits, but we also perform screenings and services that benefit you as a woman. 

It’s been documented that going to their gynecologists less and less. We want to bridge that gap by providing you with excellent well-woman services.

What happens during a standard well-woman exam?

The standard procedures that happen during your well-woman exam include:

We counsel you about which screenings you should receive If you have any type of female-specific cancer that runs in your family, like breast or ovarian cancer, and how often you should get them. 

What happens during a pelvic exam and pap smear?

Before you go, you should know what to expect from the pelvic exam.

When you have a pelvic exam, you lie on an examining table, scoot down toward the doctor, and place your feet in stirrups. While wearing gloves, your doctor places two fingers in your vagina, and her other hand presses on your abdomen.

During a pap smear, she inserts a device called a speculum. This way she can take a sample of cells from your cervix to be tested at a lab. 

Other services you might need during your well-woman exam

What we do during your well-woman exam is also dependent upon your age, whether you're sexually active, and other factors. 

Since we care for the whole family, we can also provide well-woman services to preteens or teens, like discussing or administering the HPV shot, a vaccination that protects against certain strains of the human papillomavirus linked to cervical and other cancers. 

There’s no “one size fits all” well-woman care. At Central Jersey Family Physicians, we cater to your individual health needs. 

How should I prepare for my well-woman exam?

It’s best not to schedule your well-woman  appointment for when you have your period, because your doctor won’t be able to examine you internally, and that’s a major part of the exam. 

A well-woman exam is not only about your physical health—it’s about your emotional health as well. Your doctor asks if you feel safe at home and with your partner and also screens you for depression. It’s appropriate to discuss any mental health concerns with her. 

The best way to prepare for your well-woman exam is to be ready to discuss your overall health and your health habits, including diet, exercise, and smoking and alcohol use. 

Take note of any problems you’ve been experiencing or anything unusual you’ve noticed, and ask questions during the appointment. You and your doctor are a team, and comfort and communication are the keys to success. 

Honor your health by taking care of yourself

We know you’re busy, but take a few minutes to schedule a well-woman exam today. Call our office at 732-257-1171 or reach out to us via our website

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