You may automatically think of a gynecological exam when you hear the phrase “women’s health,” but the fact is, your overall health involves more than your reproductive organs — though those are important, too. You should schedule your (or your child’s) first women’s health appointment sometime between the ages of 13 and 15.
At Northeast Florida Internal Medicine, our care team, led by Elyssa Blissenback, MD, and Lea-Anne Griffis, APRN, provides compassionate, thorough care to all of our patients. We provide comprehensive women’s health services designed to identify potential problems before they happen.
Likely, the part of the visit that makes you feel most nervous is the pelvic exam. You may wonder why you need one and whether or not it hurts.
The reason for a pelvic exam, even if you’re not sexually active, is to screen for cervical cancer. Even if you’re not sexually active, you should have a Pap smear by age 21.
No one will tell you pelvic exams are comfortable; however, they are not painful. The discomfort is generally quite short, and again, the process shouldn’t be at all painful. You may feel a sensation of pinching when your provider collects cells for the Pap smear.
Screening for problems is very important because serious conditions often have much better outcomes when detected early. A breast exam to look for lumps, issues with your nipples, or skin abnormalities provides a baseline for your annual checkups.
As we mentioned earlier, women’s health is more than reproductive health. During your visit, we will also discuss any diagnostic tests that are appropriate for your age and health, any symptoms you may be having, nutrition and bone density, and any other concerns you may have.
We offer on-site lab tests for your convenience, so you won’t need to go anywhere else to have blood drawn for tests. We can check your hormone levels, screen for conditions such as osteoporosis that affect women disproportionately, and test for common conditions like COVID-19.
Your annual women’s health appointment is a perfect time to bring up any concerns you may have regarding any element of your health. We’re always happy to recommend things like nutritional supplements, weight management, exercise routines, and referrals to specialists if you need them.
Our practice is owned and operated by women, so you can expect us to understand your concerns, provide appropriate and compassionate care, and for us to serve as your partners in pursuit of good health.
If it’s time for your first women’s health appointment, we encourage you to make that appointment and feel confident in the service you’ll receive. Call or request an appointment online at Northeast Florida Internal Medicine today!