6 Reasons Why Women Especially Need a Routine Physical Exam
Do you really need to see a family physician every single year? Who even has the time for that, especially if you feel the same as you did when you came into a family clinic for your last appointment? We’re here to tell you, though, that annual physicals and other preventative health exams can be vitally important to your well-being by addressing health concerns early on.
This is especially true for women who should also be receiving a well-woman exam every year. Some women see an OB-GYN doctor who specializes in women’s health for these exams, while others receive their routine physical exams and well-woman exams both from a primary care provider or family physician.
Keep reading to learn some of the important reasons why these exams are necessary, especially for women who should be tested for female-specific and other health conditions regularly. However, many reasons can apply to both women and men looking to improve their well-being.
1. Receive Essential Screenings to Diagnose Problems Sooner
In addition to regular screenings and lab work that patients receive during their annual physical (tests for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.), women also have additional tests performed in a well-woman exam. Many of these tests should be performed yearly, although not all.
These tests can include pelvic and breast examinations, STD testing, pap smears, and HPV testing. Serious conditions such as breast cancer or cervical cancer can be identified sooner by having a well-woman exam in addition to a preventative physical exam every year.
2. Discuss Contraception or Becoming Pregnant
Women who receive regular physical exams can ask their doctor about receiving birth control, planning to conceive, or fertility issues. In all cases, the sooner these topics are brought up, the sooner your physician can prescribe contraceptives, prenatal vitamins, genetic testing, or fertility options.
3. Receive Answers to Medical Questions
Your annual physical is the perfect opportunity to ask questions to your family doctor, even and especially the awkward or embarrassing questions. This is also a great chance to ask about concerns regarding your family’s medical history and how it might affect you. What better place to discuss these questions than with your family physician who already knows your family’s medical history?
For example, women with mothers, sisters, or other family members with a history of breast cancer may want to talk with a doctor about their risk and what they should be doing for early detection and prevention. In this case, their family practice physician may recommend receiving yearly mammograms before the patient turns 40.
4. Talk about Hormonal Abnormalities
Some women may experience an irregular menstrual cycle, abnormal vaginal discharge, or other hormonal issues that can be addressed and often resolved when they come in for a physical or well-woman exam. In many cases, the issue may be caused by the type of birth control or contraceptive they are using, but again, this is the best setting to discuss these concerns with a physician who understands your medical history.
5. Make Lifestyle Changes
What many patients, men and women, may not realize is that a family physician is the perfect person to discuss making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, adopting a healthier diet, or quitting smoking.
When you come in for your routine physical exam, don’t hesitate to talk to your family practice doctor about your health and lifestyle goals. They’ll look at your body holistically to help you come up with a personalized plan for improving your overall health.
6. Manage Chronic Issues
Women (and men) with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, or anxiety can receive needed help to manage their symptoms effectively by seeing their family doctor at least once a year. When necessary, family practice physicians can refer you to outside specialists if conditions require extra attention. But frequent check-ups are the first step to keeping these conditions under control.
Preventative Health Care in St. George, UT
Even understanding the essential nature of routine physical exams doesn’t make fitting them into your schedule any easier. Luckily, at Callahan Clinic in St. George, UT, female patients can receive their well-woman exam and annual physical in the same place. We offer preventative health care for your entire family including annual physicals and immunizations, sports and missionary physicals, and more.
Schedule an appointment at our family clinic, or stop by for a same-day doctor’s appointment!