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What Women Should Know About Their Annual Physicals

 What Women Should Know About Their Annual Physicals

When going in for your annual physical as a woman, knowing what to expect during the visit is important. While you will undergo the regular parts of an annual physical, you may also receive several gender-specific additional exams. 

At Rapid City Healthcare in Irving, Texas, our team provides the following information so you know exactly what to expect from your annual physical. 

Gender-neutral aspects of annual physicals

During an annual physical, your primary care doctor at our office will check the following, regardless of gender. It is important to answer our team's questions truthfully during the exam so that we can best help you and keep you healthy. 

After providing the basic checkup, your primary care doctor will ask if there is anything in particular you are concerned about. They will then decide if you may need additional blood work or tests done at a later time. 

Female-specific aspects of an annual physical

Alongside the basic parts of your annual physical, our team will provide several additional exams to help you remain healthy. 

Breast exams

During a breast exam, your doctor will examine your breast tissue physically and visually for any signs of cancer or other breast issues. They will look for abnormalities, lumps, or bumps that should not be present. 

Pap smear

People often lump Pap smears in with a pelvic exam, but they are two very different tests. During a Pap smear, our team will insert a sterile swab into your vagina and gently scrape it against the cervix to collect a sample for testing. These tests are important to prevent cervical cancer. 

Pelvic exam

A pelvic exam is a more general exam that doctors use to check your vulva, vagina, and cervix for any abnormalities that may be present. Abnormalities could signify a sexually transmitted disease, cancer, or non-threatening issue. 

Your doctor will also perform a bimanual exam during the pelvic exam to check for abnormalities in the ovaries or uterus. While this can be an uncomfortable test, it should not be painful. 

Mammogram

If you are over the age of 40, then you will also receive a mammogram as part of your annual physical, or a referral to receive a mammogram. Our team will place your breasts between two radiographic breastplates during this test. The plates will gently flatten your breast tissue and detect breast cancer that may be present. 

While annual physical exams can be uncomfortable, our team at Rapid City Healthcare is here to help. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online for your next annual physical.

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The annual physical exam is essential to maintaining good health. Use the opportunity to talk with your primary care doctor about staying healthy or how to improve your overall wellness.