What is a well-woman exam?
A well-woman exam is an annual women’s health visit focused on preventive health needs. These visits are an opportunity for you to get the screenings you need at each phase of life, such as a Pap smear, as well as general health and wellness advice, family planning guidance, and more.
Dr. Khamvongsa at The Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery is passionate about the role that patient education plays in well-woman care. He builds in time during each annual wellness visit to discuss your specific needs and how you can take meaningful steps toward enjoying your life to the fullest.
What is a Pap smear?
The exact steps of your annual wellness exam depend on your age and your specific set of needs. During your childbearing years, a Pap smear is an essential component of your well-woman visit.
Pap smears are an excellent tool for detecting signs of cervical cancer in the earliest stages when treatment is most effective. Since Pap smears became widely available in the 1950s, cervical cancer rates have decreased by nearly 75%.
The Pap smear process is simple. During your pelvic exam, Dr. Khamvongsa uses a device called a speculum to gently separate your vaginal walls to see the tissues of your vagina and cervix. He uses a small brush or spatula to collect a small number of cells from your cervix.
You might feel a brief cramping sensation during this process, but there is no significant discomfort. A small amount of spotting in the hours after your Pap smear is perfectly normal.
Dr. Khamvongsa sends the cells collected during your procedure to a lab for examination under a microscope. The laboratory will look for abnormalities that indicate cancer, and your results will come back in about a week.
What else happens during annual wellness exams?
Your annual wellness exam centers on your unique needs. Some additional components might include:
- Breast exam
- Sexual health guidance
- Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections, if necessary
- Overview of birth control options
- Fertility optimization advice
- Discussion of menopause treatments
- Information on general wellness, including diet and supplements
- Diagnostics for abnormal bleeding
- HPV testing and vaccination
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening
- Infertility care
Your pelvic exam also allows Dr. Khamvongsa to look for signs of tissue abnormalities in your internal and external genitalia.
To schedule an annual wellness exam, call The Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery or use the online booking tool to set up a visit today.