Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Annual Well-Woman Exam

Women take care of partners, kids, pets, and co-workers. Sometimes, they take care of everyone but themselves. It’s a sad and sobering statistic that about three-quarters of women put the medical care of others ahead of their own. But there’s no good excuse for doing so.

An important part of taking care of yourself is making sure you don’t skip your well-woman exam. While it provides a picture of your overall health, it does so much more. Here, Dr. David W. Foulk and the team at Marion Ob/Gyn Inc. explain some of the reasons a well-woman visit is so important.

Bonding with your doctor

Your yearly exam is more than a chance to get checked by your doctor; it’s an opportunity to build trust and comfort. Who wants to discuss the most intimate parts of her body and her life with a stranger? As you return year after year, you build a bond and create a sense of trust.

This, in turn gives you greater comfort during the exam and more peace of mind should any issues arise between exams. It also helps provide greater confidence when you’re facing pregnancy or other long-term health issues.

Getting a breast exam

An important part of any well-woman exam is the breast exam. And now’s a great time to schedule your annual exam if you haven’t been in a while — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

While you may be very familiar with the shape and feel of your breasts, you still might miss a lump or nodule. Dr. Foulk can feel for any abnormal lumps and can also check your breast density. Women with dense breast tissue may have a slightly higher risk for breast cancer.

It’s also a good time to discuss any other risk factors you may have for breast cancer, including family history, medical history, and medications you’re taking. Depending on your age and history, Dr. Foulk may encourage you to get a mammogram.

Staying up-to-date

Things change. Medical techniques change. Even medical advice changes. Unless it’s your job to keep up with all medical advances, things might slip through the cracks.

Your doctor stays up-to-date with things you need to know about your health, and your yearly well-woman exam is a great time for you to catch up. If you don’t see your doctor at least once a year, you might not know what standards have changed, if new medicines have been developed, or whether new treatments could help you.

Asking questions

Many women are at least a little uncomfortable talking about intimate matters. This is one of the best reasons to not only have a yearly visit but build trust with your doctor. At your well-woman exam, you can talk about intimate hygiene, changes in your cycle, and sexual issues such as pain during intercourse or a diminished sex drive.

Your exam is a handy time to ask questions about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them. Depending on your age, you might also discuss any life changes on the horizon, such as pregnancy or menopause.

Addressing your overall health

Your intimate parts aren’t separate from the rest of your body. As Dr. Foulk checks your gynecological health, he is assessing and contributing to your general good health. Ultimately, being treated as a whole person is the most important reason to make and keep your yearly well-woman exam. It’s a vital part of your overall health.

Many women tend to put everyone else’s needs before their own. When you keep your yearly exam, you’re showing yourself and the world that you are worth it. When was your last annual exam? Contact Marion Ob/Gyn Inc. this month to make that next appointment.

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