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Women's Health Checkup

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Regular checkups with your health care provider are different from appointments for sickness or injury. Your checkups, which are also called well-woman exams, include physical exams as well as preventive care. They can help find health problems early, when they may be easier to treat.

Your checkup will include screenings for chronic diseases. As a woman, you may also get special exams and screenings, such as:

  • A pelvic exam to check the health of your reproductive organs. The provider will look at your vulva, vagina, and cervix. They will also do an internal exam to feel the size and shape of your internal organs such as the uterus and ovaries.
  • A cervical cancer screening, which uses a Pap test, an HPV test, or both. The tests can help prevent cervical cancer. A Pap test checks for cervical cancer and for abnormal cells that could turn into cancer. An HPV test looks for the types of HPV which can cause cervical cancer. For both tests, your provider will take a sample of cells from the surface of your cervix and send them to a lab to be examined under a microscope.
  • A clinical breast exam to check for breast cancer. The provider will feel and look at your breasts and armpit area for lumps or other changes.

Which tests you get and how often you need them will depend on your age, overall health, and family health history. In some cases, your provider may also recommend other tests as well. For example, if you have a family history of certain cancers, your provider may recommend genetic testing.

During your checkup, you and your provider may also talk about other issues, such as:

To make the most of your next checkup, bring a list of any questions or concerns you have, so you can talk about them with your provider.

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The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.