Preventative Screenings and Well Woman Exams – St. Petersburg – Dr. Rao
Any comprehensive health care program should include regular, periodic screenings to catch disease early. When incorporated into wellness programs, preventative screenings can save lives. Because women have unique health care needs, it is important that a well woman exam be conducted apart from any visit regarding injury or illness. Dr. Kavita Rao is committed to providing the well woman preventative screenings you need to stay healthy.
The Case for Preventative Screenings by an Internist
There is no reason to see a gynecologist for your well woman exam when your regular Internist is trained in well woman care. When you trust your Internist with your well woman preventative screening exam you get the added benefit of an exam by a medical professional that sees and treats you as a whole woman, not just your reproductive parts. Remember, your Internist is your physician for life. Whether you in an office setting, a hospital, or long-term health care facility, you can rely on your Internist to coordinate your total health care program. Your Internist has the skill, knowledge and experience to handle simple or complex medical conditions. If any condition is detected by your preventative screening, your Internist is prepared to manage your care.
What to Expect from your Well Woman Preventative Screening
When you schedule an appointment for your well woman exam, you may wonder what to expect from this type of preventative screening and may even feel a little nervous. That is completely understandable. So that you will be completely at ease, here is a description of what you can expect.
Overall History. Dr. Rao will go over your general medical history and ask about any changes since your last visit. She will also inquire about your general sexual health and sexual partners. She doesn’t want you to feel uncomfortable about this discussion so be prepared to speak openly. Your eating habits and physical activity levels are also topics that will be covered. Be sure to bring a list of all medications and supplements you are currently taking.
Physical Exam. This part of the exam will be as simple as checking your blood pressure, taking your temperature, and checking your weight.
Breast Exam. According to American Cancer Society, breast cancer is highly treatable and survivable when caught in the early stages. That is why the clinical breast exam is a vital part of your well woman visit. Even if you have had a mammogram, it is important to have a regular clinical breast exam. As part of this exam, Dr. Rao will ask you about any changes you have noticed in your breasts since your last well woman preventative screening. She will visually examine your breasts while you are sitting up and physically examine your breasts while you are lying down. This examination includes not only the breast area but also under the arms as part of the lymph node examination. If you aren’t performing regular breast exams at home, Dr. Rao can show you what to do.
Pelvic Exam. Some women find this portion of the well woman preventative screening the most embarrassing. Relax and keep breathing; it won’t take long! Dr Rao will have you slide down at the end of the table. She will visually inspect your external genital area for redness, swelling, sores or any other irritations. Then she will gently insert an instrument called a speculum to allow her to do a visual inspection of your vagina and cervix. If your exam includes a PAP smear, she will collect a sample of the cells from your cervix before removing the speculum. Since she can’t see your ovaries and uterus from the outside, she will insert two gloved fingers into your vagina and press with the other hand gently on your abdomen. This will allow her to check for any abnormalities.
A well woman preventative screening is an important part of your total health care program. While you may not need a PAP smear every year, you do need an annual screening. If you haven’t had your well woman check in over a year, contact us now to schedule an appointment.