Get the Most from Your Well-Woman Exam
There are big differences in the various appointments you might make with your doctor. Today, we’re going to look at the unique features that make up the “Well-Woman Exam” and spell out how you can get the most of this meaningful measure of your health.
This appointment is meant to get you up-to-date on routine screenings and examinations and we recommend that they are done once a year.
How it Works
Some of the things we’ll do during your visit include a health screening, which would include a blood-pressure check and a BMI evaluation. We’d also have time for discussing a few key topics that might include:
- Family planning
- Menstrual cycle review and history
- A diet/weight management conversation
We would also conduct a medication review and include some time for you to share any concerns you might have. Our visit also would include routine screenings for cholesterol, thyroid function and diabetic screening, depending on your age. We may include screens for sexually transmitted diseases, depending again on your age, and we’d make sure you were up-to-date on vaccinations, too.
Well-woman visits include an important screening for signs of depression, and we’d make sure you have had any recommended cancer screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopy or bone-health Dexa scan set up as well. We might review risk factors including social, environmental and family history of illness before we were finished.
While these exams are new to some women, one thing patients may not understand is how insurance coverage works.
If you want to be seen to address a specific health problem, such as heavy periods, we might not be able to complete the lab or exam work needed during the well-woman visit to address that deeply enough. Instead, we’d set up a separate appointment. That way we know your coverage would occur to specifically address those concerns.
This can be confusing. We want to maximize the time we have together, but the well-woman exam is, in some ways, its own “thing” and it is more general than specific. We’ll make sure the results of our screenings as well as the issues top-of-mind are addressed. They just might be addressed during our next face-to-face meeting.
I hope all women who have coverage for this important exam take advantage of it and use it as the tool it is – timely visits with your doctor can help you stay in the best of health, all summer long.