Denver Medical Concierges

How to advocate for yourself at your 1st Well Woman Visit?

May 02, 2024
misc image

Teaching women how to properly advocate for themselves at their first Well Woman Visit.

Are you seeing your Women’s health provider every year for a Well Woman Visit?  

Your first Well Woman Visit is an opportunity for you to meet with your women’s healthcare provider to discuss your general health and well-being. This visit is recommended yearly once you are sexually active.  During the visit, your women’s health provider may perform a physical examination, which may include measuring your weight, height, and blood pressure, a clinical breast exam and a pelvic exam and Pap smear (or Pap Test) and HPV testing to screen for cervical cancer. 

A bi-manual exam happens every year as part of your well woman exam and the Pap smear is recommended every 3 years for women between 21-29 and every 5 years for women 30-65. 

There are 2 parts to the pelvic  

  1. Bi-manual Exam - where the provider places 2 fingers inside of your vagina to assess for uterine tenderness a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).  Which also includes having your women’s health provider gently move your cervix ¼ -½ of an inch to assess uterine discomfort (a sign of PID). 

  2. Speculum Exam: your provider will insert a speculum to collect a sample of the cervical cells (it takes approximately 1 minute). This specimen is sent to a specialized lab to evaluate “changes in your cervical cells to find early signs of cervical cancer. 

It is normal for your provider to ask you questions about your menstrual cycle, sexual activity, and contraceptive use. They may discuss any concerns or symptoms you may have, and may order tests, such as a Pap smear or a mammogram, if necessary. 

It's also a good time to discuss your family medical history and any lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, that may impact your health. If you have any questions or concerns, this is a great opportunity to ask. The goal of the visit is to help you maintain good health and prevent future health problems. 

Overall, the well woman visit is a routine check-up designed to keep you informed and proactive about your health, so don't be afraid to ask questions and bring up any concerns you may have. 

Pro Tip:  

  1. This is your body – speak with your provider about any concerns you have before they touch your body. 

  2. During any personal intimate exam – you can request a “chaperone” which is another nurse and your friend or family member to be present during this exam 

  3. Your provider should always offer to have a chaperone present for a pelvic exam to make sure you feel safe. 

  4. MOST IMPORTANT: It’s your body – you have the right to allow or decline any portion of the exam for any reason. The hallmark of a great provider is they will find a way to support you and work with you to get your medical needs met.