Alright, I know a lot of y’all are like “Really, Ashley? You’re telling us about this?”
But hear me out.
It may come as a shock to some of you, but not every woman has had a well woman exam/visit for one reason or another. Maybe they don’t have insurance? Maybe they’re terrified by the sight of that speculum. Who knows?
Either way, I’m here to give a quick rundown of what happens before, during, and after a well woman visit (at least from my own experience).
What’s A Well Woman Visit?
Well, I thought you’d never ask! Per health.gov, well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:
- Services, like vaccines (shots), that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems
- Screening tests, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat
- Education and counseling to help you make informed health decisions
It’s really important to get these done regularly. They can help you catch any potential serious issues and prevent others from happening in the future.
Before The Visit.
Do your research and find a doctor that you like. You can schedule an appointment with any gynecologist or OB-GYN (obstetrics and gynecology) doctor.
I personally use an OB-GYN for the convenience and specialty of them being well-versed in all things pregnancy! I visit my same doc for pregnancies and my well-woman visits.
Dude vs Lady Doctor
You might be asking yourself if you want a man or woman to handle your gynecology needs. I have had both, and I have found that my male doctor was gentler in handling my uterus. It’s not that my female doctor was less competent or anything, but I noticed less discomfort during pap smears and cervix checks with the male doctor.
It’s really all your own preference. If you do decide to go with a male doctor, a female nurse/staff member is always in the room with you at all times with the male doctor.
Insurance And Medical History
It’s a good idea to have your current insurance information and medical history handy before you show up for your appointment. As a new patient, you’ll have a lot of paperwork to fill out and questions to answer about your family medical history. It’s easier to get this beforehand rather than trying to call your mom in the middle of the day and hope she answers.
The Day Of The Appointment.
Show up to your appointment about 15 minutes early to fill out your paperwork. You’ll also want to wear something easy to change out of like a dress or sweatpants.
If you opt for the breast exam as part of your Pap smear, you’ll be asked to strip down to your birthday suit.
The doc and assistant will come in, ask some questions and talk about why you’re there. After the talking comes the poking. The doc will examine your breast for any lumps or abnormalities by systematically feeling around your boob. Part of it will be sitting up and the other part is laying on your back to check around your armpits, too.
No, it’s not sexy. Also, no, it doesn’t hurt.
Then you’ll scoot to the edge of the exam table, spread eagle, and take a deep breath.
It’s actually not bad.
They will put lubricant on the speculum (a tool that helps the doc see your uterus), insert it, then look around to visually check your uterus. Then they will grab a long special swab and swab around inside for a few seconds. They then give the swab to the assistant who puts it in a special container.
The doc then physically feels inside around your uterus for fibroids or any abnormalities like lumps. The whole ordeal down there lasts about 2 minutes.
And then you’re done!
After The Visit.
You should schedule your next visit for one year later, so you don’t forget. You’ll also be asked to schedule a follow up visit if the doctor has found anything worth further investigating.
Your results will also most likely be posted to your online medical records with your doctor.
Remind Your Friends & Family.
Staying current and up to date on all woman things is very important. Remind your female friends and family to get their well woman visit done! You can even send them this article!
🪴 The Daily Mama