I Feel Fine. Why Do I Need An Annual Female Exam?

I Feel Fine. Why Do I Need An Annual Female Exam?

Seeing a doctor when you don’t feel well seems like second nature. After all, when you’re sick, you want a medical professional to do all they can to help you feel better as quickly as possible. What’s less obvious is why you should see a doctor when you feel perfectly fine.

The fact is, annual well visits are just as important as sick visits, especially when it comes to women’s health. As a woman, your health needs can change dramatically as you go through life, and having an annual exam ensures your care keeps pace with those needs.

At Desert Star Institute for Family Planning, DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG, offers annual exams focused on helping women enjoy optimal health at every stage of life. In this post, learn why you shouldn’t skip your next annual exam.

Why you need an annual exam

One of the most important reasons for having a yearly exam is to help your doctor maintain an ongoing record of your health. Comparing data from year to year can help Dr. Taylor spot subtle signs of a disease long before those signs become symptoms. 

For instance, cervical cancer and some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) cause few or no symptoms in their early stages, which means treatment can be delayed. Annual exams include screenings to check for various health issues and help diagnose diseases as early as possible.

Dr. Taylor performs a variety of evaluations during an annual exam, tailoring screenings and health recommendations to suit each woman’s specific needs, age, and personal risk factors. Depending on your own needs, she may discuss contraception, menopause care, hormone therapy, cancer screenings, or screenings for both acute and chronic medical issues.

Annual exam basics: What to expect

Your annual exam begins with measurements of your height, weight, and blood pressure. It then follows a review of your medical history and any symptoms or concerns you might have. You’ll also be asked about medications you’re taking, including any over-the-counter medications or supplements you take regularly.

Next, Dr. Taylor listens to your heart and lungs, gently palpates your belly, and performs a clinical breast exam and a pelvic exam. Depending on your age and other risk factors, she may also recommend a Pap smear or HPV test.

After reviewing your health record, Dr. Taylor may recommend a mammogram or lab tests, such as blood, urinalysis, or bone density tests for menopausal women. Testing is also available for sexually transmitted diseases to help you and your partner stay healthy.

At the end of your exam, you’ll have plenty of time to discuss any concerns you may have and to ask questions about health topics, like contraception, safe sex, weight loss, or other issues. Finally, Dr. Taylor recommends health treatments, follow-up testing, or lifestyle changes to help you stay healthy.

Invest in your healthy life

Annual exams are a simple way for you to play a more proactive role in your health now and as you age. To schedule your exam, request an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Taylor and the Desert Star Family Planning team in Phoenix, Arizona, today.

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