If you are a woman under age 65, it is essential that you schedule a Well Woman Visit each year. This comprehensive visit is key to maintaining health and prevention of disease.
Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:
- Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems.
- Screenings, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat.
- Education to help you make health decisions.
What happens during a well-woman visit?
Your well-woman visit is a chance to focus on your overall health and wellness.
There are 3 main goals for the visit:
- Documenting your health habits and history.
- Getting a physical exam.
- Setting health goals.
Health Habits and History
Before your visit, your doctor or nurse will ask you to answer some questions about your overall health. These questions may cover topics like:
- Medical history.
- Family's health history.
- Relationships and sexual partners.
- Eating habits and physical activity.
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Mental health history, including depression.
Your doctor or nurse will do a physical exam, which usually includes:
- Measuring your height and weight.
- Checking your blood pressure.
- Doing a breast exam.
- Doing a Pap Test and Pelvic Exam.
You and your doctor or nurse will talk about the next steps for helping you stay healthy. Together, you can decide which screenings or follow-up services are right for you.
If you have health goals, like losing weight or quitting smoking, you and your doctor or nurse can make a plan to help you meet these goals.
How often do I need a well-woman visit?
It's a good idea to get a well-woman visit once a year. Depending on the screenings or other services you need, it may take more than 1 visit.
For example, your doctor or nurse may ask you to come in for a follow-up visit to discuss the results of a screening. Or you may need to schedule another appointment for a test or procedure that requires preparation.
We encourage you to Take Action and Be Proactive About Your Health!
These steps will make sure you get the most out of your well-woman visit.
Know your family health history.
The health history of your family is an important part of your personal health record.
Make a list of questions for your doctor.
This visit is a great time to ask your doctor or their nurse any questions related to:
- Birth control.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Preparing to get pregnant.
- Eating healthy foods.
- Getting more active.
- Your safety and relationships.
- Anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
*Take a notepad and write down the answers so you remember them later.
Talk with your doctor about which screenings you need.
Getting screening tests is one of the most important things you can do for your health. At your well-woman visit, your doctor may recommend screening you for:
- Certain types of cancer.
- HPV (human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer).
- HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- High blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Osteoporosis (weak bones).
Follow up with the doctor after your visit.
During your well-woman visit, your doctor or nurse may recommend that you see a specialist or get certain screenings. We can assist you in making these appointments before you leave.
Affordable Care Act
If you are under age 65, the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, covers your well-woman visit. It also covers many other services, like some screenings and types of counseling.
Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get well-woman visits and related services at no cost to you. Click here for a list of services covered
Gallatin Women's Center is a safe place for women to discuss problems with their doctor. We understand that sometimes patients don't ask questions for feelings of embarrassment or judgment. Each and every one of our patients is important to us. Please know that we take physician to patient confidentiality very seriously.
Gallatin Women's Center would also emphasize that mental health is just as important as physical health. If you are struggling with depression or feel you could benefit from some counseling, we will be happy to assist you in finding a professional that can help.
*We are in no way affiliated with any mental health professionals or facilities. This is simply a courtesy we offer to our patients.