Puberty is an important time for young women, as it signals the start of your journey into adulthood, and your body undergoes a lot of changes.
Starting between 8-13 years of age, your body starts producing hormones like estrogen and progesterone that lead to growth spurts, body hair in places it’s never grown before, the beginning of your menstrual cycle, growing breasts, and widening hips.
While parents and other adult women can help you cope with what to expect from these changes, female physical examinations (also known as well-woman exams) are an important facet of your development.
Female physicals monitor your progression into adulthood, screening for any abnormal changes, answering medical questions, and helping with birth control and possible sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Your first exam can seem scary regardless of how old you are, but your physician is here to help you cope with the changes as they happen. If you’re a female in the Beverly Hills, California, area, and you’re nervous about your first physical exam, Dr. Shawn Veiseh and his skilled team at Shawn Veiseh, M.D. are here to help.
Let’s look at the importance of female physicals, the screenings covered, and what your first exam will be like.
Starting as early as age 13, these exams can help not only monitor general health but also detect early signs of problems and abnormalities that may require more tests.
These examinations also help you establish trust with your doctor, which is important for getting past any awkwardness . They also make it easier for you to be open about your concerns regarding any changes you’re going through that you may not understand.
A good relationship with your doctor will make understanding the changes you’re experiencing and asking questions about your sexuality much easier.
During a female physical exam, your physician checks your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, temperature), heart and lung health, and visually inspects your body for changes and anything unusual.
Screenings for conditions like breast cancer, cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and various types of STDs are not uncommon, but you may not be screened for them on your first visit. If you’re sexually active, getting treatment and preventing the spread of any STD you may have will be important, so screening through blood or urine tests may be performed.
In addition to the general screenings and examinations already mentioned, you’ll be asked about your medical history and your menstrual cycle to make sure things are progressing normally. You’ll also be given a:
A basic breast exam checks for any abnormalities, and makes sure your breasts are developing properly. Breast cancer exams aren’t normal for first-time female physicals and are only done if something discovered during your physical examination indicates a need for it.
An external vaginal exam checks for signs of sores, swelling, or anything else that may be cause for concern. A basic internal exam can help to determine the size and position of your uterus and ovaries. Pap smears and other tests may not be necessary on your first visit unless you’re sexually active.
You may also be offered an HPV vaccine if you haven’t received one, as this condition can lead to cervical cancer. Getting the vaccine early can help reduce your risk.
Your first female physical can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help make it as comfortable and productive an experience as possible. If you’re ready for your first exam, schedule an appointment with Dr. Veiseh and our medical team today. Call our office or schedule a visit online.