It can be tempting to skip an annual well woman exam, especially if you are not experiencing any symptoms that you need to discuss with your provider or don’t have a need to start or change a method of birth control.
We understand that attending one of these visits means taking time away from normal responsibilities that typically take priority, and the idea of attending only to have a provider sign off and say “see you next year” doesn’t seem like it should be more important than school, work, or anything else on your to-do list.
There are very important benefits to annual exams that you don’t want to miss out on. Additionally, it is pretty hard to argue, at the end of the day, that your health shouldn’t take top priority – even if it’s preventive care. PGOMG has outlined three reasons you should never skip your annual well woman exam, no matter how tempting it may be to put the appointment off.
- Preventive healthcare is healthcare – Annual well woman exams screen patients for cervical cancer and breast abnormalities. Yes, patients should be performing their own breast self-exams at home on a regular basis, and your provider can confirm whether your home exam findings are accurate. When abnormalities in a pap smear or breast exam are caught early, it can make a significant difference in how treatment proceeds. Precancerous cells don’t have to become cancerous if they are caught early.
- You’ll have a professional all clear – For your own sake, having a medical professional confirm that you are healthy and there’s no need for additional screening (if this is the case) can be a great relief. Even if you weren’t looking for that type of validation, many patients report that they feel less stressed once an exam is complete and any test results are returned.
- It’s an opportunity to ask questions – Over the course of an entire year, it’s likely you’ve had at least one question that you would have asked your PGOMG provider if you had the opportunity. Maybe you wondered whether your current form of birth control wasn’t the best fit, or you’re considering family planning, or you’ve had a symptom off and on and you’re unsure whether it is normal or not. We often turn to the internet for help with questions like these, but your provider is the best source for reliable, professional medical care – and an annual exam is the perfect space to ask these questions.
If you’re due for an annual exam, please request an appointment with PGOMG here.