As the name suggests, a well-woman exam is an essential component of every woman’s overall health care. In fact, these annual visits with us should be considered as important as your primary care visit, as women have unique health care concerns.
At Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen and the team help guide women through every stage of their lives, from passing through puberty, navigating the reproductive years, and getting through menopause and beyond.
If you’re new to gynecologic care or to our practice, here’s a look at what you can expect during your first well-woman exam with us.
Before you see the doctor, we first record some baseline statistics, such as your weight, height, and blood pressure. This information provides us with a starting point, and we monitor these areas each time you come to visit. We also collect some urine from you for analysis.
The next, and arguably most important, part of your first well-woman exam is the time we spend getting to know you. Before you see us, we give you some paperwork to fill out and we ask that you bring along any medical records that may be pertinent to your reproductive health.
When Dr. Willen sits down with you in the exam room, he reviews these records and information with you to get a better overall picture of your health as well as your family history. Beyond reviewing your current and past health, he also spends some time discussing your lifestyle and wellness goals.
Based upon your initial discussion, we then move into more specific areas. For example, if you’d like to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, we can review ways you can manage your family planning through birth control or other methods.
If you’re sexually active and don’t use protection, we can discuss testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Unfortunately, STDs are at an all-time high in the United States, with about 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2021 alone.
As well, we discuss your menstrual cycles because up to one-quarter of women of childbearing age experience menstrual irregularities.
After your initial consultation, we move on to the physical exam. For this, you lie back on the exam table and place your feet into stirrups that elevate and separate your legs. (We provide you with a special garment you can wear for the exam.)
Next, Dr. Willen inserts a speculum to widen your vaginal canal so that he can gain better visual access. The speculum may be uncomfortable, but it’s not painful. Depending on your needs, Dr. Willen will likely take a swab of your cervix so we can test for human papillomavirus (HPV). The swab is also painless.
After your vaginal exam, Dr. Willen palpates your abdomen and checks your rectum and breasts for any abnormalities.
All of this takes us only minutes to perform, and your physical exam is over before you know it. If Dr. Willen sees anything that he wants to discuss further, he will do so, but otherwise you’re free to get on with your day.
The time you spend with us during your well-woman exams is time very well spent, as we can monitor your health and step in quickly should a problem arise.
To schedule your well-woman exam today, please contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, to set up an appointment.