Abortion Clinic & Family Planning Obstetrics & Gynecology located in East Brunswick, NJ
Has it been awhile since your last mammogram or Pap test? For that matter, when was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? The annual well-woman visit makes staying on top of your health easier and more convenient than ever before. At GYN Choices in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the team of board-certified gynecologists combines their broad base of knowledge and specialized skills to provide comprehensive well-woman exams, including routine cancer screenings and general health screenings. If you’re due for a check-up, call the office for an appointment today.
"The Doctor and his staff is great. Very professional and will take great care of you. I've been a patient here for over 20 years, and I've trusted Dr. White to deliver all my children. Dr. White has also delivered my sister's children, and most of my friends kids.I don't care where I move, I will always trust them with my care. At this point I consider them family!!!!"
Well Woman Visit Q & A
What is a well-woman visit?
As a cornerstone of preventive care in gynecological medicine, the annual well-woman visit is the perfect time to evaluate your current health and assess any risks so you can take steps to mitigate them.
During your visit, you may talk with your OB/GYN about your physical, mental, and sexual health history, as well as your current exercise, dietary, and sleep habits.
It’s also an opportune time to receive preconception counseling, talk about fertility issues, learn more about your contraception options, or get help with menopause symptoms.
After taking your height and weight and performing routine pelvic and breast exams, your OB/GYN may cover one or more of the following:
Depending on your age and health history, your visit may include screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, bone density, and other common conditions.
Your well-woman exam is an excellent time to discuss any menstrual cycle abnormalities you may be having, including chronic pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, or irregular periods.
Your OB/GYN can also help you understand how regular physical activity and optimal nutrition can help you maintain a healthy body weight, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant or you’re approaching menopause.
If you’re sexually active and you have concerns about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the team at GYN Choices of Central Jersey provides comprehensive in-office STD screenings.
What does a well-woman check-up include?
The purpose of annual well-woman visits is to maintain awareness of all aspects of your reproductive health. The gynecologist typically performs specific screenings during each visit. These include:
- A physical examination includes a medical history review and discussion of any current issues or symptoms. The provider checks vital signs and may obtain a urine sample, as well.
- Breast exam. This brief examination should be an expansion on the monthly breast exams you perform at home. Breast exams are vital to the early detection of breast cancer. During the exam, the doctor palpates the breasts, feeling for lumps and irregularities.
- Pelvic exam. This part of the well-woman visit is necessary to detect early stages of inflammation, sexually transmitted infection, and cancer. For this exam, you lie on your back with your feet in leg-rests. Your doctor observes the appearance of external genitalia and tissue around the vaginal opening for irregularities and inflammation. An internal and external exam is done to also palpate for lumps or other signs of abnormality.
- Pap screening. The Pap screening usually takes place immediately following the pelvic exam. It involves the use of a very small Q-Tip type instrument to obtain a sample of cells from the cervix. The Pap screening may only be done every other year as a way to check for cervical cancer.
Why is it important to get Well Women visits?
Well-woman visits are performed annually to help women stay on top of their health and wellness. These visits are integral to the prevention of various diseases, including breast and cervical cancers. The earlier these and other medical conditions can be identified, the more conservatively they may be treated. Well-woman visits also strengthen a patient's relationship with a primary caregiver. They provide the doctor and patient to work together to gain insights into health and future planning. For example, younger women may have questions about family planning, pregnancy prevention, or becoming pregnant. Older women may gain helpful assistance from their gynecologist as they transition through menopause.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare for well women's visits?
You need to do very little before your well-woman visit to make it a comfortable and productive visit. Our primary recommendation is to schedule your appointment to occur when you are NOT menstruating. If you have questions about any gynecological symptoms, birth control, or other health matter, write them down and bring them to your appointment. Finally, dress comfortably for your appointment.
How often should I have a Pap test?
A Pap test, also known as a Pap smear, is a screening test that detects abnormal cells in your cervix, or the part of your uterus that opens into your vagina.
Because it’s proven to be the most effective way to detect abnormal cervical cells, the Pap test is an indispensable tool in cervical cancer treatment and prevention.
This quick and simple procedure, which is normally done during a routine pelvic exam, is recommended every three years for women from the age of 21.
Starting at the age of 30, you may continue having a Pap test every three years, or you may start having a combined Pap/HPV screening once every five years.
Women with a higher risk of cervical cancer usually require more frequent Pap tests.
Are Pap tests painful?
A Pap smear should not be painful. Your first screening may feel odd or slightly uncomfortable because the entire experience is new and different. If you have concerns, bring them up to your doctor. It is important that you feel empowered as you undergo necessary screenings to guard your health. Your provider can work slowly and can explain every step of the process to you if you would like. They may be able to suggest a position or breathing to help you relax, which can help to reduce the chance of discomfort. The Pap obtains cervical cells using a small swab, which can feel like a tiny pinching sensation to some women. It is important to know that you also may not feel anything but minor pressure as this is done.
When should I have my first mammogram?
Unless you have a family history of breast cancer, you can expect to have your first annual mammogram at the age of 40.
A mammogram is a special type of X-ray that’s used to help detect early-stage breast cancer in women who don’t otherwise have any signs or symptoms of the disease. Mammograms are also used to assess any lumps found during a routine breast exam.
How often should I get my Mammograms?
Mammography is detection, not prevention. Women are strongly encouraged to schedule mammograms yearly after age 40. Having a normal mammogram one year is not a guarantee that the next mammogram will also be normal. Yearly mammograms increase the chance of finding breast cancer when it is small and most easily treated. Early treatment for breast cancer is a significant step toward overcoming the disease.
What happens if I have infertility issues?
If you are having difficulty becoming pregnant, your gynecologist can schedule appropriate tests to help identify the cause of your fertility issues. According to research, most cases of female infertility originate with ovulation problems. Ovulation is the stage in the menstrual cycle during which the body releases an egg to be fertilized. To explore ovulation, the doctor may perform certain tests or have the patient track her periods. Irregular periods are a common sign that ovulation is not occurring as it should. Other potential causes for fertility issues include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), primary ovarian insufficiency, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and blocked fallopian tubes. Keep in mind, as well, that only one-third of infertility cases relate solely to a woman's reproductive system. Another one-third of cases originate with the male partner's reproduction, and some cases involve issues on both parts. Your gynecologist is familiar with the various causes of infertility and how to address them.
What Do My Pap Smear Results Mean?
Your Pap test results will read normal, inconclusive, or abnormal.
- Normal results mean that you have no abnormal cells on your cervix.
- Inconclusive results mean that your cervical cells are neither normal nor abnormal.
- Abnormal results mean that you have some degree of cellular abnormality, likely caused by HPV
What Happens if My Pap Results are Inconclusive?
It's not uncommon for a woman to have at least one inconclusive or abnormal Pap test in her lifetime. When there is question about the presence of abnormal cervical cells, further testing is needed. For inconclusive Pap smear results, a doctor may perform an HPV test. Research has concluded that HPV, human papillomavirus, is the primary cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Hence, a negative test can definitively confirm that an inconclusive Pap smear does not indicate cervical cancer.
What Happens if My Pap Results are Abnormal?
Receiving an abnormal Pap result doesn't mean you have cervical cancer. There are a number of factors that can lead to the abnormality, including uterine polyps, a yeast infection, and other irritation in the vaginal canal. Changes in hormones can also influence your Pap results. This is why not all abnormal Pap results call for further testing. Your doctor may recommend follow-up with an HPV test, or they may recommend returning for a follow-up Pap in a few months.
The most common reason for abnormal Pap results is the presence of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US). An HPV test may be ordered to learn more about the abnormality in this case. Additional abnormal results could indicate
- Atypical glandular cells. This could be due to a uterine condition.
- Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. These are usually related to HPV infection.
- Atypical squamous cells, including high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. These may lead to cancer if not treated.
- Adenocarcinoma in situ. This advanced abnormal glandular tissue may be precancerous.
- Cervical cancer cells are rarely present when Pap smears are performed regularly. These are usually discovered during a biopsy when a more signficant abnormality has been identified.
Is STD Testing a Routine Part of My Well Woman Visit?
It should not be assumed that every well-woman visit includes STI testing. It's important to talk to your doctor if you meet any of the criteria that warrant this type of screening. Testing for sexually transmitted infections can be highly beneficial for women who have multiple sex partners, transgender women who have sex with men, and also men who have sex with men. During your well-woman visit, you'll be asked about your sexual habits and practices around safe sex.
There is no judgment around your lifestyle. Your gynecologist is a caring member of your healthcare team whose sole focus is keeping you as healthy as possible! Keep in mind that STIs can be present without any symptoms. So, even when you feel fine, screening should be discussed based on specific criteria.