What's Included in a Well-Woman Visit?

Have you scheduled your wellness check this year? Annual well-woman visits might seem like a hassle — especially if you’re feeling good — but these checkups are the best way to maintain your health.

Samuel Van Kirk, MD, in Redding, California, makes it simple to get the care you need. He specializes in gynecology care for women of all ages, and our team is here to help you take a proactive approach to wellness with our comprehensive well-woman visits.

Your well-woman visit includes a physical exam and preventive screenings tailored to meet your needs, and it can include ...

Health review

Dr. Van Kirk and our team start your well-woman visit by reviewing your health history. Come to your appointment prepared to answer questions about your medical history, prescriptions you’re taking, eating and exercise habits, and more.

If you have questions about your health, now’s the time to ask. We’re here to support your health, whether you’re trying to choose the right birth control or you need tips for managing symptoms of menopause.

Physical exam

Our team records your height, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. We may listen to your heart and lungs. Your exam may include a blood draw to test your cholesterol level and other important health indicators. 

Dr. Van Kirk also does a clinical breast exam. He feels your breasts and under your arms to check for abnormalities. You might have a mammogram screening, depending on your age and your risk of breast cancer.

Pelvic exam

Your pelvic exam is an examination of your reproductive organs, including your vulva, vagina, and cervix. Dr. Van Kirk uses a speculum to open your vaginal walls. He does a visual exam and feels your abdomen, looking for abnormalities in the size, shape, or appearance of your reproductive organs.

Pelvic exams are an important element of your well-woman exam, because they help Dr. Van Kirk identify causes of pelvic pain. Some common gynecologic conditions Dr. Van Kirk diagnoses and treats include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.

Pap smear

Pap smears are cervical cancer screenings. Most women get Pap smears every three years, but you could benefit from more frequent testing if you have a history of cancer or abnormal Pap smear results.

If you’re getting a Pap smear at your well-woman exam, Dr. Van Kirk typically does it at the same time as your pelvic exam. The screening involves taking a swab of cells from your cervix, which are sent to a lab for testing.

STD testing

Many common STDs, like human papillomavirus (HPV), don’t have obvious symptoms. The only way to know if you have one is STD screening, and you can get tested at your well-woman appointment.

Dr. Van Kirk may recommend routine STD testing for women who are at a higher risk for STDs, including those who are younger, have multiple sexual partners, or have a new partner. Even if you aren’t high risk, you can request STD testing if you think you’ve been exposed.

Your annual exam is a health checkpoint for you and Dr. Van Kirk. If your exam is normal, you can plan on coming back in one year. If Dr. Van Kirk identifies potential health concerns, he discusses the next steps with you.

Is it time to schedule your well-woman visit? Contact our office at 530-242-4129 or send Dr. Van Kirk a message online.

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