At Virginia Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology, we are happy to provide preventive health care to our patients. Preventive care consists of measures taken for disease prevention as opposed to disease treatment. We often think of going to see our doctor when we have illness, but we should also seek healthcare resources in an effort to maintain wellness.
The ‘well-woman visit’ (commonly known as the annual exam) which is recommended for every woman every year is a wonderful opportunity to explore measures to prevent disease. Because we have long associated the annual exam with “Pap testing”, many women forget it is a general preventive health visit. This is an ideal time to discuss risk factors for the development of diseases and modifications for the prevention of disease. We often take time to discuss tips for living a healthy and balanced lifestyle including diet, exercise and safe health habits. It is an opportunity to stay up-to-date with immunization recommendations. It is also an ideal time to screen for high blood pressure and depression. We can discuss prevention of sexually-transmitted infections and screen for them if necessary. For many women, it is a wonderful opportunity to address and initiate appropriate breast cancer screening and discuss colon cancer screening and refer for colonoscopy if necessary. For select women, we can initiate screening for osteoporosis if indicated. The ‘well-woman visit’ is also time to address genetic screening options for genetic disorders for women who are predisposed to certain diseases based on family and personal history. For women hoping to start or expand their family the yearly visit is also a perfect time to discuss ideal health habits in order to optimize pregnancy outcomes and prevent complications in future pregnancy. For those who choose to avoid pregnancy, the well-woman exam is a time to initiate or maintain a secure a method of contraception.
As you can see, there is much to discuss even if you walk in the door of our office at the time of your ‘well-woman visit’ without even a single complaint. The yearly visit also gives us an opportunity to get to know you and develop a sense of familiarity with each other, so that should you develop gynecologic problems in the future, we have an established and comfortable relationship. We look forward to seeing you in times of wellness as much as times of illness. Please be sure to schedule your preventive health care visit each year.