Annual Well Visits

An important part of staying healthy is to have regular gynecological exams beginning at age 18, or within three years of becoming sexually active.

Preventive care includes:

  • Discussion of health topics based on your age and risk factors
  • Exams and screening tests
  • Immunizations

What to expect for your annual exams

In addition to checking your height, weight and blood pressure, your doctor will ask you questions about your general health, menstrual period and sexual activities.

During your exam, your doctor will perform the following exams and tests. If the doctor is male, a female nurse remains in the room during your exam.

Breast Exam. During your breast exam, your doctor will check your breasts for signs of any potential problems, such as a lump. He or she will examine each breast by moving his or her fingers around your breast in a pattern. You may also be shown how to perform monthly self-examinations.

Pelvic Exam. During your pelvic exam, your doctor will examine your vagina, cervix and reproductive organs. Once you place your feet against footrests at the end of the examining table and slide forward, your doctor will then insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to gently spread the walls apart to examine the area. Your doctor then places one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina and the other hand presses on your abdomen from the outside to check the size, position, and shape of your internal pelvic organs. The pelvic exam may feel a bit uncomfortable, but should not hurt.

Pap Test. A Pap test checks for abnormal cells in the cervix that could lead to cancer. The doctor will insert a small cotton-tipped swab through the vagina into the cervix. Cells are removed from the cervix and sent to a laboratory to be checked for any abnormalities. The Pap test is painless.

These assessments should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors.

Access recommendations on screening, laboratory testing, evaluation & counseling, or immunizations for a specific age range below:

Ages 13–18 Years

Health Topics
Exams and Screening Tests
Immunizations

Ages 19–39 Years

Health Topics
Exams and Screening Tests
Immunizations
Ages 40–64 Years Health Topics
Exams and Screening Tests
Immunizations
Ages 65 Years and Older Health Topics
Exams and Screening Tests
Immunizations 

Click here for a PDF version of the entire set of recommendations (ages 13 years-65 and older)

About Immunizations

For more information about immunizations, please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines and www.immunizationforwomen.org

Taking Charge of Your Healthy Lifestyle

  • Be involved in your health care.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Be open with your doctor about your sexual history or any symptoms you may have.
  • See your doctor on a regular basis or as soon as a problem develops.