The annual or wellness exam is something women should have each year. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that the first wellness exam be performed by age 16. At these early visits, no pap smear is necessary but your SOGA provider will perform a thorough history and also a limited physical exam. It is also a great chance to discuss the HPV vaccine and answer any questions about STDs, contraception or sexual health. All of our providers review general wellness with our adolescent patients including nutrition, exercise and driving safety.
After age 21, it is recommended that pap smear screening begin. A pap smear is a sample of cells from the cervix, and it is often done with a pelvic exam, breast exam and full physical. The doctor or nurse practitioner will also discuss any birth control needs, perform preconceptual counseling, and order any routine screening labs that are indicated by the exam and history. Although some women do not need pap smears each year, we feel that is appropriate to see a physician/health care provider for a wellness exam each year.
After 40, most women will need to start having mammograms. After performing a breast exam at the annual visit, your SOGA provider will give you an order for a mammogram. Basic lab screening like sugar and cholesterol testing may be discussed as well. We continue to focus on general wellness for all ages and will discuss nutrition, vitamins, and exercise.
When a women reaches menopause, she may experience quite a few changes or may have none at all. At an annual for perimenopausal or menopausal patients, the provider will review what is normal and what is not, recommend any diet or vitamin changes and discuss breast and bone health.
At 70, most providers will stop performing routine pap smears. The annual exam focuses on general geriatric health/wellness as well as screens for any gynecologic problems. Bladder health and bone health are also reviewed.