Getting an annual well-woman exam is important for women. These exams provide more than just a physical and more than just making sure that everything is okay “down there.”
They also include essential screenings for cancers and other conditions that can be very treatable if caught early. Dr. Ruchir Thakkar and our team at Cermak Immediate Care explain what happens at your appointment and why it’s important to prioritize.
What to expect during a well-woman exam
When you come into our practice, you first have the opportunity to consult with Dr. Thakkar, which helps you build a comfortable relationship.
The beginning of your exam involves some of the same things you do during a general physical. We take your blood pressure, check your weight, and may request a urine sample.
As an important part of your women’s health, we also perform screenings for breast cancer and uterine cancer. Both of these diseases are much more treatable when caught early.
The pelvic exam
Before your pelvic exam, you undress privately and put on a paper gown. Dr. Thakkar knocks on the door before coming into the room to perform the exam and is always accompanied by a female associate.
You lie on your back and put your feet into stirrups attached to the medical examining table. This enables access to your vagina to perform a Pap smear where Dr. Thakkar inserts a lubricated, long cotton swab to collect cells from the inside of your cervix. This may feel a bit uncomfortable, but most women don’t find it to be too painful.
He puts the cells from your vagina into a test kit and sends it to the lab for analysis. If any of the cells from your cervix come back as abnormal, you receive a notification right away. But in most cases, your results are normal.
In addition, he performs a pelvic exam. This involves inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into your vagina and your rectum to check for any abnormalities. He also gently presses on your abdomen to see if he detects any potential tumors.
The breast exam
During your breast exam, Dr. Thakkar checks to see if there are any lumps that you might overlook during your monthly self-exams you should do regularly.
If you’re 40-45 years of age or have a family history of cancer, you may also receive a referral to get a mammogram. This is a form of X-ray for your breasts, which detects any lumps that are too small to see or feel.
Discuss any concerns
At your annual well-woman exam, it’s a good time to ask any questions that you may have. This can include issues related to birth control, yeast infections, hormones, your emotional health, or any other concerns.
The well-woman exam is all about taking care of you. If you’re due for a well-woman exam, you can rely on us at Cermak Immediate Care to help you stay healthy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Cicero, Berwyn, Little Village, or North Lawndale, Illinois.