The Annual Visit: Women's Health Care And Wellness At Any Age

From the teen years through the golden years, an annual exam with an OB/GYN helps women stay on top of their health. OB/GYNs provide care for all aspects of reproductive health as well as promote general wellness for women of all ages. Your annual visit is designed to meet your unique healthcare needs for each stage of your life.

Wellness Exam 

Regardless of the patient's age, OB/GYN providers often conduct a wellness exam during an annual visit. This includes measuring height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure. Providers may perform a routine clinical breast exam during the physical. A review of your medical history, current medications, nutrition, and physical activity accompanies the physical exam.

Pelvic Exam

Patients 21 and older receive a pelvic exam during their visit. During the exam, the OB/GYN examines the external genitalia, vagina, cervix, ovaries, and uterus. Some providers do not routinely perform pelvic exams unless the patient is pregnant, has a problem, or is at risk for cancer or other conditions. Patients under 21 may receive a pelvic exam if they have symptoms that require an exam to diagnose. 

Fertility and Family Planning

Many women are interested in preventing pregnancy or becoming pregnant. During their annual exam, their OB/GYN provides information and options for contraception, fertility assistance, prenatal planning, genetic testing, and other topics related to family planning. Issues pertaining to the menstrual cycle, such as ovarian cysts, can be identified during an exam and confirmed with ultrasound. 

Menopause and Aging

Women in their mid-forties and beyond begin to transition into menopause. The OB/GYN addresses issues pertaining to menopause such as irregular periods, heavy bleeding, hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and night sweating. He or she may recommend medications, lifestyle changes, or hormone therapy to help alleviate symptoms and manage changes brought on by a decrease in estrogen. 

Cervical Cancer Screening

During the annual health exam, the OB/GYN may screen for cervical cancer based on the patient's age, medical history, or risk factors. Women in their 20s and 30s receive a cervical cancer screening, or pap smear, every three years. Women in their 30s are also screened for HPV, a virus that causes some kinds of cervical cancers. After age 40, pap smears may be done annually until the age of 65. By age 65, women can forgo pap smears if they have had several years of normal results. 

Other Health Screenings

In addition to reproductive health, OB/GYN providers examine other aspects of women's health to promote wellness. Women in their 40s and 50s may be screened for thyroid problems, diabetes, colorectal disease, and cholesterol. Women over 65 receive a bone density scan to identify risk factors for osteoporosis.


Women of any age benefit from having an annual women's health exam. Seeing your OB/GYN provider regularly plays an important role in disease prevention and treatment as well as promoting wellness. Taking the time to visit your OB/GYN each year will help to preserve your health in the long run.

To find out more, contact a company like Embrace Advanced Gynecology & Wellness.