Your Annual Gynecological Exam is Not Just a Pap Smear

(Originally Posed on Jul 24, 2014)

Depending on your risks for cervical cancer and your pap exam history, your provider may not recommend that you get a pap smear every year.

This doesn’t mean you’ll want to put off your yearly appointment: your gynecological visit is an important source of primary care.

A yearly visit to your gynecologist includes important well care that can help protect your health and well-being including:

Clinical Breast Exam

Breast self-exams can sometimes be useful in early cancer detection, and it’s important to be familiar with the way your breasts feel at different points in your menstrual cycle so you can take note of any changes.

However, a yearly clinical breast exam–along with mammograms after age 40–should be the cornerstone of your breast wellness plan. Research has shown that this is by far the most effective early breast cancer detection strategy.

Blood Test for Hormone Levels

A simple blood test for hormone levels can detect certain gynecological health problems early as well as problems in your overall health. For example, increased estrogen can be a result of ovarian tumors as well as tumors of the adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys, far from the part of your body usually associated with gynecological care!

Other Screenings and Topics Your Gynecologist Will Discuss

1. Reproductive goals and birth control methods
2. Vaccination to prevent HPV, Hepatitis and other STDs
3. Osteoporosis screening
4. Colon cancer screening
5. Sexual health for teenagers and young adults
6. Preconception counseling
7. Screening for benign uterine and ovarian conditions

Build An Ongoing Relationship With Your Gynecologist

Good healthcare is a partnership between the health care provider and the patient. Having a yearly gynecological check-up, before you have a problem, is a great way to build a relationship with your provider.

Not only will your provider perform a clinical breast exam and check for hormone levels, they will also do a general health and wellness check including taking your blood pressure, weight and performing other important physical assessments.

You can ask questions about your health at this appointment, ask for help understanding the latest women’s health studies, and follow-up with any changes in your body since your last exam such as fibroids, heavy menstrual bleeding issues, etc.

Your annual exam is an important of your self-care; are you due? If you’re in the Palm Beach County area, please call us today at Palm Beach Obstetrics & Gynecology at (561) 434-0111 and schedule your appointment.

We have offices in:

Convenient evening appointments are available in both our Lake Worth and West Palm Beach offices. Please get in touch; we want to help you live a better quality of life by maintaining excellent gynecological health!

Keep an eye out for my August blog posts, which will cover the various screenings and counseling we provide to patients during their complete annual exams.

To Your Health & Well Being,


Dr. Sam Lederman

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