Women are at a higher risk for several health conditions compared with men, and the female reproductive system is complex.
Unfortunately, women often find themselves taking care of others while neglecting themselves. Your annual women’s health checkup is a great time to make sure your health is on track.
At Central Clinic in Spring Hill, Florida, Dr. Poonam Malhotra provides comprehensive women’s health services. As a family physician, she evaluates your gynecological and breast health in the context of your overall health, so she has a more well-rounded picture of how you’re doing.
Different names, same goal
The well-woman exam may sound like a new procedure to some who are more used to pelvic exams, annual physicals, or gynecologist appointments.
Regardless of what your exam is called, the goal is the same: Dr. Malhotra wants to make sure that you’re in good health at a time you’re not actively seeking treatment for an illness.
Most women should have their first well-woman exam at the beginning of puberty. After that, you should have annual visits.
The focus of those visits may change as you become sexually active, experience symptoms, or go through various life stages. But an annual visit remains an important part of a good health care routine.
During your exam, you can probably expect the same thing, regardless of your age. Most likely, your visit begins with a check of your height, weight, pulse, and other vital signs. These vital signs, over time, give Dr. Malhotra a baseline to measure your health.
When you have a strong relationship with your provider, they’re more likely to catch variations or unusual readings that could be an early warning.
After your vital signs are recorded, you should expect a discussion of your health since your last visit. That discussion may include your own health or that of people close to you. Changes in your life may also be important.
Depending on your age, your well-woman visit may include vaccinations or information regarding sexually transmitted diseases. For example, for those around age 14, Dr. Malhotra may suggest the human papillomavirus vaccine.
Different components at different stages
After you become sexually active, your well-woman exam includes information on birth control, safe sex, and perhaps STD testing. If you want to become pregnant, your well-woman exam is a good time to ask questions about what you can do to improve fertility.
If you don’t want to have children, your well-woman exam offers an opportunity to discuss permanent birth control. At a certain point, you may want to use this time to ask questions about perimenopause and the symptoms you can expect.
There’s more to a woman’s health than reproduction, of course, and your well-woman exam also covers your general health.
Dr. Malhotra lets you know when it’s appropriate to have various screenings. Also, during your exam, she may spot signs of breast or cervical cancer well before you have any symptoms.
If you have questions about what to expect during a well-woman exam, or it’s time for your annual visit, schedule an appointment with Dr. Malhotra today. You can request a time that works for you online, or you’re welcome to call our office at 352-254-5649.