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Woman's New Life Clinic

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Why Does Well-Woman Care Matter?

September 27, 2023

Why Does Well-Woman Care Matter?

Well-woman care matters for your long-term health and well-being. It ensures your reproductive system is functioning properly and monitors for any concerns.

It can also help screen for STDs/STIs and a variety of cancers, such as cervical and breast cancer. 

What’s Typically Included in a Well-Woman Exam?

1. Pelvic Exam

During a pelvic exam, a healthcare provider will examine your reproductive organs for any abnormal changes. It usually includes both an external and internal visual exam, followed by a physical exam of organs that can’t be seen outside the body.

If you’ve been experiencing pelvic pain or other reproductive issues such as unusual vaginal bleeding, discharge, or urinary issues, the healthcare provider may recommend another appointment to conduct more tests.

2. Pap Test (Pap Smear) 

If you’re due, you may also receive a pap test (also known as a pap smear) to screen for cervical cancer. The healthcare provider will collect a sample of cells from your cervix for testing.

Healthcare providers recommend pap tests for women starting at age 21 and repeating every three years until age 30 and every five years until age 65 if results are normal.

You might receive more pap tests if you have certain risk factors, such as precancerous cells from a previous pap smear, a cervical cancer diagnosis, HIV infection, a history of smoking, and other factors.

3. Clinical Breast Exam

While women are encouraged to conduct self-breast exams at home for awareness, it’s not a substitute for a clinical breast exam. During this, a healthcare provider will examine your breasts and look for anything abnormal, such as a breast lump, that could need further testing.

This is critical for early breast cancer detection and treatment.

4. STD/STI Testing and Treatment

STD/STI testing and treatment can also be included in well-woman exams to protect your reproductive and long-term health. The sooner an STD can be treated, the better for preventing pelvic inflammatory disease and other complications.

The CDC recommends all sexually active women younger than 25 receive STD testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 and older with risk factors such as having new or multiple sex partners should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia annually.

All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C early in pregnancy. Those at risk of infection should also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

When Was Your Last Well-Woman Exam? 

Annual well-woman exams are key to your reproductive and long-term health for detecting STDs, certain cancers, and other reproductive health issues. Annual well-woman exams are also critical for protecting your fertility.

If you live near one of our clinic locations in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, schedule an appointment at Woman’s New Life Clinic for well-woman care today. Call the office nearest to you!