Annual Gynecologic Exam
Traditionally, an OBGYN provides preventive care to women. The annual gynecologic exam provides the opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks. The annual gynecologic exam includes screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors. In general, the physical examination will include obtaining standard vital signs, determining body mass index, palpating the abdomen and inguinal lymph nodes, and making an assessment of the patient’s overall health. Many, but not all, women will have a pelvic examination and a clinical breast examination as a part of the physical examination. Referrals for services outside of the realm of OBGYN are also an integral part of the annual gynecologic exam based on the age and risk factors.
Did you know…
Speculum examinations for cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21 years, irrespective of sexual activity of the patient. The Pap smear is the method in which cervical cancer screening is performed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women begin Pap smears at age 21. Women between the ages of 21-29 should get a Pap smear every three years, and then every three to five years after age 30. Screening will be more frequent for women with abnormal Pap smears.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What additional tests are required and/or ordered during my annual GYN exam?
Depending on the patient’s age, risks factors, and medical history, several labs tests and studies may be ordered during the patient’s annual GYN exam. A mammogram is ordered yearly on women who are 40 years of age and above to screen for breast cancer. A colonoscopy is ordered on women who are 50 years of age or older to screen for colorectal cancer, and it is repeated every 10 years. Screening for diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia begins at age 45, but may be ordered earlier based on history and risk factors. A bone density scan to screen for osteoporosis is ordered at age 65, but may be done earlier based on symptoms and risk factors. We offer tests to screen for sexually transmitted diseases to all our patients once sexually active.
If I don’t have GYN issues, why is an annual GYN visit necessary?
As a GYN provider, Dr. Longoria sees his practice not simply as a medical home for his patients, but a safe place for all issues, including emotional and social problems. A depression screen is done in all annual visits to assess the patient’s needs for depression treatment. Substance abuse is also addressed during our annual visits to help those in need, as well as their loved ones, through referrals to specialized providers and treatment centers. We ask our patient about abuse; physical, sexual, emotional. Our goal is to build a rapport with our patients, enabling us to optimize their care for not simply a healthy life, but a life full of joy, confidence, and optimism
How do I prepare for my annual GYN exam?
Bring comfortable clothing. Bring a list of all your medications with doses. We prefer you bring all your medications in their vials inside a plastic bag. Be ready to talk about everything, even those embarrassing issues. Be honest. Don’t be afraid. Trust us. Know we are here to help you.