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HealthFix: Importance of women’s wellness exams

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Having an annual woman’s wellness exam is a great opportunity to take charge of your health. Routine health care visits can help find problems early or prevent health problems before they occur. If problems are found early, they may be easier to treat and less likely to pose serious risks to your health. Preventive health care includes the following:

  • Discussion of health topics relevant to your age and risk factors
  • Exams and screening tests
  • Immunizations

As a woman, you need some special exams and screenings. During your checkup, your health care provider will take a medical history and usually do:

  • A pelvic exam - an exam to check if internal female organs are normal by feeling the shape and size.
  • A Pap test - a test to check for cancer of the cervix, the opening to a woman's uterus. Cells from the cervix are prepared so they can be seen under a microscope.
  • A clinical breast exam - to check for breast cancer by feeling and looking at your breasts.

Insurance companies are required to cover many preventive services for women at no cost to you because of the Affordable Care Act. Here are 5 TIPS ON WHAT TO BRING TO YOUR WELLNESS EXAM:

  1. Bring your current health status and family medical history. Provide health conditions and any treatments/outcomes with dates/ages for both you and family members.
  2. Provide a list of what you consume including foods, beverages, tobacco, alcohol, prescribed or over the counter medications or any type of drugs– note any side effects and be as forthright as possible!
  3. Provide physical activity information – or especially note the lack of doing any activity.

Be sure to discuss any possible pain during or after.

  1. Provide information on any abuse, depression or neglect – however difficult it can be, it’s important to disclose any physical or mental abuse.
  2. Provide urinary and fecal incontinence or inconsistences – note unusual issues or pain with your stool and urine. It’s important to report any blood.

Sean Jerig, M.D.
Salt Lake Regional Medical Center
www.saltlakeregional.com