Did You Know Annual Wellness Exams Are for Women of All Ages?

As a woman, you need special exams and screenings throughout your life to protect your overall health and wellness. A women’s wellness exam includes a full physical exam, including a clinical breast and pelvic exam as well as health screenings, blood tests, vaccinations, and education or counseling so you can make informed health care decisions.

Even If you feel fine, you should make your annual women’s wellness exam a priority. These visits help you avoid serious medical problems in the future.

An aged-based guide to comprehensive well-woman care

Women of all ages should visit a skilled gynecologist each year, beginning at age 21 (or within three years of having intercourse). The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends dividing a woman’s life cycle into four intervals to ensure the highest quality of primary and preventative care, including:

Ages 13-18
Young women who are not sexually active should have their first women’s wellness exam between the ages of 13-15, with annual visits thereafter. The first visit generally does not include a pelvic exam, instead your gynecologist will likely familiarize his/herself with your medical history, including menstrual history and body mass index (BMI). They will also provide health guidance, vaccinations, screening, and preventive health services as needed. Adolescents should be screened for the following conditions during a women’s wellness exam:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Obesity
  • Eating disorders
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Learning or school problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Sexual activity
  • Human papillomavirus (for those who are sexually active)

Ages 19-39

The main reasons young women in this age group visit their gynecologist for an annual wellness exam include contraception, pregnancy, and cervical cancer screening. However, it’s also important to screen for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus and arthritis). Annual pelvic exams and pap smears are essential for early detection and treatment of common conditions, including:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Endometriosis
  • Polyps
  • Fibroids
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vulvovaginal pain syndromes
  • Vaginitis
  • Adnexal masses
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD) including pelvic inflammatory disease

Ages 40-64

Women in this age group begin experiencing menstrual changes associated with perimenopause and menopause, so it is important to monitor hormone levels and overall wellness. Here are common health screenings for mature women:

  • Bone density
  • Mammogram
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid
  • Hypertension
  • Cholesterol

Ages 65+

Older women should continue seeing their gynecologist each year to promote successful aging. Women in this age group should be educated about disease prevention, particularly cardiovascular disease, and monitored for the following conditions:

  • Chronic lower respiratory disease
  • Certain cancers (e.g., ovarian, cervical and skin)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Unintentional injuries (accidents)
  • Sexual or physical abuse

 

No matter your age or stage in life, you owe it to yourself to visit your gynecologist each year for a women’s wellness exam. Annual wellness exams are for women of all ages and are essential for maintaining your health and wellness from adolescence and puberty to childbirth and menopause—and beyond. Call 855-398-5962 for an appointment.