Wellness and Preventative Exams

The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists recommends women begin having yearly well-woman examinations within three years of sexual activity or by the age of 21 with annual exams continuing until the age of 30. Women older than 30 may continue yearly screenings or may have a pap smear every two to three years after three normal results in a row.

During your Wellness visit, we will evaluate pertinent family and medical health history, collect and assess baseline vital signs (height, weight, blood pressure), evaluate your current health status, talk about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, perform a comprehensive physical examination, and collect a Pap smear for evaluation against cervical cancer.

A pap test is a screening tool used to find signs of cervical cancer, or cells that may potentially turn into or transform to cervical cancer in the future. This test is performed by gently inserting a speculum into the vaginal cavity and scraping the cervix to collect some cervical cells. After collection the cells are then sent to a laboratory, where the specimen is processed and reviewed by a pathologist. During the review process the pathologist looks for any abnormal cellular changes or growth and reports the results to our office.

Another simple test detects HPV affected cells which are now known to be the leading cause of most cervical cancers. HPV or human papillomavirus is sexually transmitted and is the leading cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Upon transfer, HPV lies on top of skin cells and may become dormant for a long period of time.

HPV can be found in both males and females and  is transferable by both. Recent statistics indicate that eight out of 10 people get HPV at some point in their lives. In most cases our bodies fight off the virus before it can cause any problems. In those cases where HPV is present, your healthcare provider will discuss with you a plan of treatment and monitoring. There is no cure for HPV so frequent screening and early detection is the only method of early detection.