Women’s* Health Annual Visit Tutorial

Women’s* Health Annual Visit Tutorial


Going to the doctor for sexual and reproductive
health needs can be a bit anxiety inducing for some students. Here’s what you need to know about Women’s
Health Services at UNC’s Campus Health. First off – Women’s Health is not just for
women. Medical providers who understand and support
women with their health needs is important historically and today. But really, people of all gender identities deserve
care focused on their health needs. Providers at Women’s Health are trained in
the specific needs of people who identify as women or have any of the following body
parts – ovaries, a cervix, a vagina or a vulva. The services offered are thorough – whether
an annual medical checkup, getting birth control or STI testing, Pap Smears, Colposcopies
or preparing for pregnancy – we’ve gotcha covered. The most typical reason people visit women’s
health is for an annual wellness visit – which is also known as a “well woman’s visit” or
“annual exam.” These visits should happen each year after
you turn 21 and are provided at no charge to UNC students eligible for care at CHS. The visits help medical providers know about
current health concerns and prevent any future health needs. This visit usually includes a conversation
about your medical history, sexual history, and current practices. And – if indicated – the visit can include
a breast exam, pap smear, STI testing, or pelvic exam. Remember – annual visits to a medical provider
are recommended for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. You should plan for the visit to take 30 minutes. Many students told us that knowing what’s going
to happen at an appointment makes them feel more comfortable, so let’s get into specifics. Breast exams are provided to monitor changes
in breast tissue and detect breast disease if present. A health care provider will carefully feel
your breast tissue, looking for changes or abnormalities such as lumps. The provider will also visually check your
breasts while you are sitting up and also while you are lying down. Pap smear guidelines change, but most people
with a cervix do not need them every year. The purpose of a pap is to look for abnormal
cervical cells associated with cervical cancer or cells affected by Human Papilloma
Virus (HPV). A pap smear is performed using a speculum
which is inserted into the vagina so the provider can see and access the cervix, where they
will collect cells using a small brush and smooth spatula. The cells are then sent to a lab for testing. Your provider will contact you with any abnormal
results. A pelvic exam is used to evaluate the size,
shape, and consistency of the cervix, uterus or ovaries. This will not always be done at each annual
visit. A pelvic exam usually comes after a pap smear. The provider will remove the speculum and
insert two gloved fingers into the vagina. The provider will locate the cervix and use
another hand to press on your abdomen. It should not be painful, but you may feel
some pressure during the pelvic exam or pap smear. STI testing may or may not be recommended. If you decide to be tested, tests may include
an extra swab of the cervix during your pap smear to collect cells, a swab of vaginal
wall cells you collect yourself, urine samples, blood tests, or oral swabs. Talk to your provider about what tests are
right for you. Some testing may not be covered by your health
insurance. Call your insurance provider to discuss what
is covered before you visit CHS. Learn more about STI testing https://campushealth.unc.edu/STItesting p.s. You may be in a situation where finding a
consistent method of contraception is to your benefit. There are many factors to consider in finding
a birth control method that works for you and lots of methods that exist. Check out contraception in the Contraception
Video to learn more. Ready to schedule that annual visit to Women’s* Health Services? Give us a call today or request an appointment online. Just one more thing: To save you time, fill
out the initial physical form located in the forms section of our website before your appointment, and bring it with you when you come.

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