Annual well-woman exams are a part of maintaining good overall health. At his practice, Dr. Wirth offers well-women exams and consultations to patients throughout the Financial District and Lower Manhattan. Patients can work with the doctor to monitor their health at Innovative HealthCare Physicians.
An annual well-woman or women’s exam will be performed by the doctor each year to monitor a patient’s health and ensure that any issues which arise are dealt with right away. During the annual exam, patients can expect a:
If a medical condition or issue is discovered during the annual women’s exam, the doctor can recommend a treatment plan for moving forward. If the issue is more serious or severe, the treatments may need to begin right away. It can also be an ongoing process. Many conditions or concerns are only found during a woman’s annual exam during the pap smear. This exam helps the doctor find any abnormalities before they become serious or as early as possible. The doctor will discuss the findings of the exam with each patient.
When a person is scheduled for an annual exam, it is important to make sure that she is prepared to answer any and all questions the doctor may have. Knowing which conditions run in the family and keeping a list of all medications taken can help to prepare patients. Patients should also be ready to discuss any concerns which are present with the doctor. Women can also make a list of any questions they may have for the doctor including obtaining information on:
Patients may also want to be aware of any screening test they may require. As a woman ages, screening tests are used to evaluate their health more in depth. Patients may need to undergo tests such as a diabetic screening, an osteoporosis screening, or cancer screenings.
Your exam begins with complete personal and family health history to look for factors that could place you at risk for certain medical conditions. Your weight and blood pressure will be checked and recorded, and you'll have a chance to discuss any symptoms or issues you may be experiencing. Dr. Wirth will feel your tummy and perform a breast exam. In most cases, you'll also have a pelvic exam with a Pap smear to check for signs of cervical cancer or other health issues. He'll also examine your external genitalia for abnormalities. The extent of your exam will depend to some extent on your age.
Dr. Wirth offers a complete range of gynecological care, including:
Annual well visits are recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, including annual pelvic exams for women 21 and older. The first visit (without a pelvic exam) ideally should take place between the ages of 13 and 15 for screening and educational purposes. Even menopausal women require regular evaluations, although Pap tests may not be necessary. Regular exams are the best way to catch cancer and other potentially serious conditions in their earliest and most treatable stages.
Pap tests are simple enough to be performed with every annual exam, although women over the age of 65 who have had three consecutive normal smears may not need one.
Pap tests are quick and simple, and can be performed during your routine gynecological exam. To complete a Pap smear test, you'll lie on your back on the exam table with your feet supported by stirrups. A lubricated speculum will be inserted into your vagina to widen the opening, and Dr. Wirth will use along-handled swab to gently remove cells from the lining of your cervix. These cells will be sent to a lab for evaluation under a microscope to determine if there are any abnormal cells present. The entire test takes just a few minutes and it's painless.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), Pap smears should be taken every three to five years for women of child-bearing age and more frequently if you have specific risk factors for cervical cancer, you have HPV or you have other issues that require more frequent monitoring. The ACOG also recommends an HPV test every five years for women who are over 30 years of age.
Many women worry that if there Pap test results are abnormal, it means they have cancer, but that is not the case. In fact, most abnormal test results are not caused by cancer, but by some other condition such as hormonal fluctuations (especially during and around menopause), vaginal infections like yeast infections, or infections caused by a human papilloma virus, a family of common viruses that affect most sexually-active people and often cause no symptoms. Most cases of HPV clear up on their own, but a few may cause genital warts or increase your risk for cervical cancer. If your Pap results are abnormal, Dr. Wirth will probably advise additional testing to identify the underlying cause.
HPV is an abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a very common, sexually-transmitted virus that affects millions of people. More than three dozen types of HPV exist, and just about every man and woman who becomes sexually active will contract some form of HPV in their lifetime. In most cases, HPV clears up on its own and causes no symptoms, but in some cases, HPV cam increase the likelihood of developing genital warts or cervical cancer, and it can also cause symptoms in the throat or mouth.
HPV can be diagnosed during a Pap test by examination of the cells lining the cervix; by using a DNA test to look for the virus's RNA or genetic material; and through a procedure called colposcopy, which uses a special device to magnify and detect abnormal cells on the vaginal walls and cervix. Colposcopy can be performed at the same time as a Pap test or in response to an abnormal Pap test result.
Although there's no cure for HPV, there are treatments that can be used to reduce the symptoms and health risks associated with HPV. When HPV causes genital warts or abnormal cells to develop, procedures like cryosurgery, electrocautery, loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) or laser treatments can be used to remove warts and clusters of abnormal cells. Regular Pap smears and gynecological exams are the best way to identify HPV-related changes in their earliest stages.
In most cases, HPV will not cause any harm to your developing baby. To date, no link has been identified between HPV and any pregnancy complication, including miscarriage. HPV also has a very low chance of causing any issues during delivery.