The annual exam — one of the most important parts of preventative medicine.
Screening tests are a critical step in the prevention and management of potential diseases. Establishing a routine exam schedule with your OB/GYN or regular healthcare provider to better understand your body and health improves your quality of life and overall wellness.
During the annual well-woman exam, your provider will assess your health history and conduct a clinical breast exam as well as a pelvic exam to examine your sexual organs, including the labia, ovaries, uterus and cervix. A rectal exam may also be performed, especially for women over the age of 40. Tests including pap smears, screening for sexually transmitted disease (STD's) as well as infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis enable the healthcare provider to detect and treat any potential problems.
Annual mammograms and breast ultrasounds for women over the age of 40 or those at risk greatly improves early detection and survival of breast cancer.
Your provider will also screen for symptoms of depression, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancer, thyroid, liver and kidney problems. For older patients, a screening colonoscopy and osteoporosis scan may also identify additional problems.
It is important to remember that part of prevention also encompasses a healthy diet, exercise, alcohol and drug use as well as smoking cessation. Your health care provider can help you assess your health habits to assure you are doing everything you can to live a long and healthy life.