Based on your age and health history, your gynecologist may want to emphasize certain preventive exams and screening tests over others during your well woman visit.
A long plastic brush is used to collect cell samples from your cervix. Pap tests can detect cancer, HPV (human papilloma virus) infection or abnormalities that may lead to cancer.
Abnormal Pap Smear Results
If you’ve received abnormal, or "positive" Pap smear test results, your doctor may want to schedule a colposcopy, a procedure in which your doctor uses a special microscope to examine the vulva, vagina and cervix. During this procedure, physicians may take a tissue biopsy if they detect cells that could be abnormal, precancerous or cancerous. UChicago Medicine gynecologists are highly trained in colposcopic procedures, and can help you understand your biopsy results and whether further treatment is recommended.
Your physician will use his or her hands to check for abnormalities like lumps in your breasts, underarms and collarbone areas, and may also order a mammogram.
After checking for abnormalities on your vulva and vaginal opening, your physician will use his or her hands to check your uterus and ovaries for any abnormalities. A speculum exam will usually also be conducted at this point to evaluate the cervix and vagina.
Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing
Depending on your symptoms (remembering that some STDs have no symptoms), you may be asked for a blood or urine sample, or to undergo a physical exam. Your gynecologist or midwife may also swab samples of vaginal discharge for testing.