An annual well-woman exam, often simply called an annual, is essential for proactively managing your health across the stages of your life. At The Woman’s Health Pavilion our OB-GYN providers in Queens and Long Island specialize exclusively in women’s health—from puberty to menopause and beyond. Our goal is to nurture each patient’s overall wellbeing by providing high quality care in a welcoming, supportive environment. While each annual exam is personalized to the unique needs of the patient, this page provides a general overview of what to expect.
Your annual will start with a friendly greeting from a member of our front office staff who will collect your current ID, insurance card, and co-pay (if applicable). You will be asked to complete or update our basic intake forms including our new patient forms. You’ll then be taken to the clinical area to complete your health history and examination.
We’ll ask you several questions about your health history. It’s helpful to consider the following questions in advance of your scheduled appointment; if you have a complex history, it’s particularly helpful to write down the details before you come in.
- Date of your last menstrual period (LMP)
- Menstruation: frequency, duration, heaviness of flow
- Pregnancies: number of pregnancies, births, miscarriages, terminations, and ectopic pregnancies
- Medical problems: Including and significant past or current conditions requiring medical care
- Prior surgeries: Name of specific procedure, date, and reason for the surgery
- Family history of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases/disorders
- Medications, vitamins, and supplements: types, dosages, and frequency
- Smoking, alcohol, and drug use
- Immunizations: types and dates
Other aspects of your health history will include any current complaints, as well as questions about sexuality, contraception, and future plans for pregnancy. Nothing is off limits here: We want to you to feel free to speak openly and ask any questions that are on your mind.
Once your health history is complete, we will provide you with a gown and ask you to undress. For most adult women, this means taking off all clothes, including your underwear (but it’s ok to leave your socks and even your shoes on). When you’re ready, one of our physicians or advanced care practitioners will return to complete the rest of your annual exam. You may be asked additional questions to clarify your health history. Physical examination is then performed, focusing on the breasts, abdomen, and (if necessary) a pelvic exam.
The pelvic exam assesses the health of your external genitalia, vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. It is possible to detect pelvic masses (including fibroids and ovarian cysts), sexually transmitted infections, and even certain types of cancer. If an internal exam is needed, a smooth, lubricated speculum is inserted into the vagina all the way up to the cervix. A Pap smear may be performed to collect cervical cells and secretions for cancer and HPV screening.
Women over age 65 or who have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) not related to cancer may not require Pap smears. We discuss this with patients on a case-by-case basis.
Ultrasound Imaging (Sonography)
Each of our offices is equipped with high-resolution ultrasound equipment; in addition, a specially trained technician is present to perform examinations for our patients. Ultrasound imaging is an extremely helpful complement to a pelvic examination. Images of the pelvic organs can be obtained using a handheld transducer over the abdomen or in the vagina. With these scans we can see extremely detailed images of the pelvic organs, including the uterus and ovaries.
Depending on your age and family history, your annual may include a cancer screening test or a referral to have the test done at an outside facility. We strongly advise patients to have their recommended screening on time. In our practice, we’ve saved many lives by catching early cancers.
|Type of Cancer||Typical Age |
|Cervical cancer||21||Pap smear/HPV testing|
These are general guidelines only. Some women may require additional screening tests or may require screening at an earlier age based on their own health history or family’s history. You may also require special screening to detect conditions like diabetes or osteoporosis.
When should a young women have her first annual?
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that young women have their first OB-GYN visit at the age 13 to 15 years. Typically, teens are most comfortable scheduling their first appointment with one of our young, female PAs or NPs, who are highly experienced in adolescent gynecology. These very personable practitioners know how to put teens at ease in a judgment-free environment. Generally, a pelvic exam is not required when evaluating an adolescent patient unless symptoms are present.
The first gynecology visit is an opportunity to create a trusting connection in a safe environment. We encourage our young clientele to protect their physical, reproductive, and emotional health, and to make smart choices. After the age of 18, young women should have yearly well-woman exams.
Schedule Your Annual Today
To meet with a gynecologist or other experienced practitioner at one of our multiple offices in Queens or on Long Island, contact us using our online form or by giving us a call. Most health insurance plans cover a well-woman exam each year free of cost. We welcome you to bring a list of questions to along with you so that we can address them.
May We Help You?
Would you like to find out more about our treatments and services? Are you looking for a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment recommendation you received at another practice? The experienced team at The Woman’s Health Pavilion is happy to help. Just let us know how and when you’d like to hear from us.