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Well Woman Exams

Women should plan on a regularly scheduled health exam starting at age 18 to be sure their reproductive organs are healthy and to avoid any problems before they start. These exams are typically covered 100% by health insurance in the United States.

During a well-woman checkup, your gynecologist (often called an OBGYN because they see women when they’re pregnant and when they’re not pregnant) will typically perform the following exams:

  • A pelvic exam to check the internal female organs. This is done to see if they are normal shape and size.
  • A Pap 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. Your doctor will tell you how you will find the results of this test.
  • A clinical breast exam to check for breast cancer by feeling and looking at your breasts.

Depending on your age, the gynecologist may also recommend you have a mammogram performed. This is an image of the breast tissue to detect breast cancer. They may also suggest a test for the HPV virus (human papilloma virus).

This is a good time for women to openly discuss with their doctor any questions they might have about hormonal mood swings, birth control, planning a pregnancy, painful or uncomfortable sex or other related topics. S/he will be happy to answer these questions.


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