The Gynecologic Visit
Routine health care, even if you do not feel sick, can help detect problems early. You should visit your doctor once a year to have regular exams and tests. Certain tests should be done regularly for all women in your age group.
During a routine exam, your doctor will measure your weight and blood pressure and may check your skin and body overall to be sure everything is normal. During a routine gynecologic exam, your doctor will check your breasts for lumps or discharge, check your abdomen to see if there are any problems with your ovaries or uterus, inspect your vulva and vagina, and may examine your rectum. Your doctor may do a Pap test to check for changes in cells that could lead to cancer of the cervix. Between visits you may want to perform a breast self-exam once a month. Depending on your age, your doctor may recommend that you have a mammogram. You also will be asked about your general health and medical history, including:
- Your health history.
- Your diet.
- Your exercise habits.
- Whether you smoke or drink alcohol or use drugs.
- Whether you take any medications.
If you have problems at any time, contact your doctor. Do not wait until your next checkup.