Mountainside Medical Group

 

Routine Gynecology

Well Woman Exam

Well Woman Exams are the foundation for health promotion, disease identification and wellness throughout your life. It is no secret that healthy living and early detection of disease increases not only your length of life but, more importantly, your quality of living.

Women of all ages should receive a well woman exam annually. This provides you with the opportunity to talk to your physician about your health concerns, learn about your health and health habits for favorable outcomes and any other concerns you may have about your health. If you have any concerns that you are not comfortable talking about with family or friends, like the use of drug and alcohol, depression, infections, sexual health issues, and so on, the well woman exam is the perfect setting to talk to your physician.

There are three parts to the well woman exam: the health history, breast exam and pelvic exam.

The Health History

Your first visit with your Mountainside Medical Group OB/GYN may be more involved that your future office visits. At your first visit, we will take the time to get to know you, retrieve a detailed medical history, including medical, family, obstetric, gynecologic, genetic, etc. These details will help us to develop your care plan. Some topics we will discuss include:

  • Have you ever been pregnant and, if so, did you have any problems?
  • Are you planning a pregnancy?
  • When was your last Pap Smear and was it normal?
  • Your menstrual history: This includes the age that your period started, and the frequency and duration of your periods.
  • When was your last Mammogram?
  • Have you ever had any type of surgical procedures?
  • Are you experiencing any health problems now?
  • Your daily habits such as diet, smoking, and exercise and a detailed sexual history.

When possible, bring any medical records and a list of medications that you are taking to your first visit. This would also include any alternative treatments you may be utilizing, such as herbal supplementations or acupuncture.

The information that you reveal is strictly confidential by law, so do not hesitate to ask us about any of your concerns. At Mountainside Medical Group OB/GYN we want to make sure you receive a complete plan of care in order to help you be healthy in every way.

Annual Exam

  • A Pap smear, allows us to evaluate the outer cells of your cervix to detect for abnormalities and signs of cancer.
  • Each of our patients will have blood work performed (complete blood count) to check for anemia.
  • Women 40 years and older, or women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer, you will be given a prescription for a mammogram or breast ultrasound to evaluate you for breast changes. Those older than 65, or are high risk for osteoporosis, will be given a prescription for a bone mineral density scan (DEXA). These evaluations can be scheduled at the Women's Health Center at Mountainside Medical Center.
  • Occasionally you will be asked to come back every 6 months i.e. birth control follow-up.

Clinical Breast Exam

A clinical breast exam should be done for all women regardless of age. A clinical b reast exam will be performed by your physician and will start with you sitting up with your arms raised above your head. Your provider will look for any visual signs of abnormality. Using the pads of their three middle fingers, your provider will then touch each breast to search for lumps or thickening from the bottom of the breast to the collar bone and up under each arm pit. The exam is then performed again, this time, with you lying down.

Pelvic Exams

The pelvic exam specifically determines if the outer sexual parts (vulva and labia) and the inner organs (vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries) are healthy, this includes an annual pap smear. This involves scraping the outer and inner area of the cervix with a small instrument called a palate, brush or broom. The cervix does not have a lot of pain sensation so this should not hurt, but you can feel it. Once the speculum is removed, your care provider will make sure the uterus and both ovaries feel normal in size and you have no pain in this area. They do this by gently inserting two gloved and lubricated fingers into the vagina and using the other hand to feel these organs by pressing on your lower abdomen. Rectal examinations are not routinely done by most care providers unless there is a problem. Women over age 40 may be more likely to have rectal exams. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have never had a pelvic or rectal exam or if you ever have had problems during an exam.

Sexually Transmitted Illnesses (STI) Screening

STIs can cause abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding, soreness or pelvic pain, but they can also have no symptoms early on. Untreated STIs can spread the disease to other sexual partners, and there can be severe consequences later on in life.

Sexually active patients 35 years old or younger are tested annually for sexually transmitted diseases. Patients may also request more frequent testing or screening as needed i.e. a new partner.

Contraception

There are various forms of contraception available that can be prescribed by your physician, these include birth control pills, the patch, vaginal ring, intrauterine device (IUD) among others. It is important to talk to your physician about the different forms of contraceptives in order to find the one that is right for you. 

Hormonal Contraceptives

The pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring – all contain a small amount of man-made estrogen and progestin hormones. These hormones work to inhibit the body's natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy is prevented by a combination of factors. The hormonal contraceptive usually stops the body from ovulating. Hormonal contraceptives also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to find an egg. Hormonal contraceptives can also prevent pregnancy by making the lining of the womb inhospitable for implantation.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills, also known as "the pill", are taken orally to prevent pregnancy. When used correctly they are proven to be up to 99.9% effective. The pill, however, does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). 

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

An intrauterine device, inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy, is a small T-shaped device. IUDs are inserted by your physician and can remain in place and work effectively for many years. It can be removed when you no longer desire contraception, or be replaced when it reaches the end of its lifetime.

Implants

An implant, or match-stick sized, flexible, plastic rod, is surgically inserted under the skin of a woman's upper arm. They can last for approximately five years, releasing progestin to prevent pregnancy.

Injectable Birth Control

Progestin is injected into the arm or buttocks once every 3 months. This method is known to cause some temporary loss in bone density. It is recommended that those using this form of birth control eat a calcium and vitamin D rich diet, or supplement with vitamins during the course of use.

Contraceptive Patch

Contraceptive patches stick directly to the skin and release hormones into a woman's blood stream. It is usually placed on the lower abdomen, buttocks, outer arm or upper body. A new patch is applied once a week for 3 weeks, with the 4th week patch free in order to enable menstruation.

Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is inserted into the vagina, where it releases hormones for 3 weeks. It is removed for the 4th week and a new ring is reinserted 7 days later. Women choosing this form of contraceptive should follow the directions provided to them the manufacturer and their health care provider for storage and maintenance.

 
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