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Annual Gynecological Exams

young female patient smiling at female nurse

We believe that annual exams are absolutely essential. It’s more than just tests and exams – it provides a great opportunity to discuss your concerns face-to face with your physician. Our physicians remain educated in the latest screening guidelines and advanced technology to bring our patients the best care. Here’s what you can expect during your annual exam.

Pelvic Exam

We recommend that you get a pelvic exam every year as soon as you become sexually active, regardless of age. This important exam allows us to check the pelvic area for changes and signs of disease such as inflammation, masses or fibroids. If any changes are discovered during your exam, we will recommend additional testing, such as a pelvic ultrasound

Pap Smear

During your pelvic exam, we can perform a pap smear to test for cells in the cervix that could lead to cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends:

  • Every woman should start getting pap smear tests at age 21, then every three years thereafter until age 30. 
  • Women aged 30-65 years old should get pap smear tests every five years. 

An abnormal pap smear doesn’t always mean cancer. Many women experience cervical cell changes, and often those changes go back to normal on their own. Should you receive an abnormal pap smear, we will request additional testing like a colposcopy or cervical biopsy for closer examination of the changes. If results of follow-up tests indicate significant changes, the abnormal cells will be removed. You will need follow-up testing after treatment and regular cervical cancer screenings after the follow up is complete.

Breast Exam

It is important to conduct monthly self breast exams to know what is normal for your breasts so you can notice small changes and report them right away.

We can perform a clinical breast exam during your annual visit to feel for any changes.

ACOG advises that women get clinical breast exams:

  • Every one to three years for women 20-30 years old. 
  • Every year for women over age 40.

You should talk with us about your risk factors to make a decision about whether to have a clinical breast exam.

Covenant Health