The Nurse-Midwives at Women's Circle are dedicated to helping you stay healthy throughout your lifetime.
During your well woman exam, a comprehensive health history and physical exam will be done including a breast and pelvic exam. If you need a pap smear, which is a test done to screen for cervical cancer, it will be done at this visit as well. Depending on your age and risk factors, testing for sexually transmitted disease can also be done. Women who are forty years old or thirty five with a family history of breast cancer will receive an order for a yearly mammogram. Your annual exam is a great time to check on your general health as well. During your visit, you will receive guidance on exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits and other laboratory tests such as cholesterol screening, complete blood count and urinalysis may be ordered. If you are in your childbearing years, the midwife will discuss with you your plans for pregnancy and/or birth control needs, how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and healthy lifestyle counseling.
If you are past your childbearing years, your well-woman exam is a great opportunity to discuss concerns you may be having about menopausal symptoms and ways to get relief, keeping your bones strong and ways to stay healthy and fit.
In the past, pap smears were done on a yearly basis but the guidelines have now changed. The new guidelines call for routine paps to begin at age 21. Previously, it was recommended that women get their first cervical cancer screening within three years of first having sex or at age 21. The new guidelines also recommend women 30 and older should wait three years between pap smears once they've had three consecutive clear tests, and that women 65 to 70 should stop having paps entirely if they've had no abnormal test results in the last 10 years. If you have never been sexually active, a pap smear is not necessary. The change in the pap smear guidelines comes from research that shows screening too often can be harmful. Precancerous growths, commonly found in young women with HPV, will go away if left alone. Those growths that are removed can lead to damage to the cervix and present problems later when a woman becomes pregnant. At your well woman exam, the nurse-midwife will make sure you receive the care you need at the right time in your life!