Take Charge of Your Health with Your Annual Women’s Health Physical

When was your last OB/GYN visit?  Annual OB/GYN visits are a great start to taking charge of your health.  These annual preventive care appointments are used to detect and treat any new or ongoing health problems in addition to helping prevent future ones from developing.

Regular health physicals build the foundation of health and wellness for women in the fight against a wide range of health issues, but few medical visits are as vital to protecting both your overall health and your reproductive health as your annual OB/GYN appointment.  From screening tests to candid conversations you might not have with someone else, time with your OB/GYN can be a lifesaver.

You and your health care provider will discuss many preventive health topics during your visit.  An annual women’s health care visit often includes:

  • Discussion of risk factors associated with your age
  • Physical exam
  • Health history
  • Medication use
  • Diet and exercise habits
  • Stress factors
  • Sexual concerns
  • Tobacco, alcohol and drug use

Your visit may also include needed tests and screenings including:

  • Height, weight, body index (BMI)
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Pap smear of the cervix
  • Human Papillomavirus or HPV screening
  • Breast exams
  • Immunizations

The Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening used to find changes in the cells of the cervix that could lead to cancer.  The human papillomavirus (HPV) test detects the presence of human papillomavirus, a virus that can lead to the development of genital warts, abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer.  Currently no HPV test exists to detect the virus in men.  However, men can be infected with HPV and then pass the virus along to their partners.

If you have certain risk factors, you may need additional tests other than those recommended for your age group.  If your annual women’s health exam is the only doctor you see on a regular basis – as it is for nearly a quarter of women – your health care provider may also perform other tests such as a urinalysis, cholesterol or blood sugar levels.

If problems are found early, they may be easier to treat and less likely to pose serious risks to your health.

Steps to Take Charge of Your Health:

  1. Make the appointment
  2. Prepare for the visit
    1. Gather health records and insurance information
    2. Refrain from sexual intercourse for at least 24 hours before your appointment
    3. Make a list of questions for your health care provider
    4. Keep track of your periods
  3. During the visit
  4. Ask questions freely
  5. Answer questions honestly
  6. Take notes
  7. Schedule your appointment for next year

Your health care provider can be your partner in achieving and maintaining good health, but you play the main role in your wellbeing. The first step towards taking charge of your health is making an appointment with your doctor or nurse practitioner.  Do not be afraid to ask questions or express concerns, we welcome the opportunity to help you.

The Jackson Clinic is the trusted resource for all your family’s health care needs.  The physicians of the OB/GYN Department have over 150 years of combined experience in caring for the needs of women, with expertise in numerous areas including pregnancy care, hormonal management, health maintenance and minimally invasive surgery.  To take charge of your health and reserve your appointment, contact our office at The Jackson Clinic 731-422-0213 or www.jacksonclinic.com