Women’s Check-Up Day: What to Ask at Your Annual Well-Woman Visit

May 11 • 2015

Visiting your doctor for an annual check-up is one of the best ways you can stay healthy. Your well-woman visit should be separate from a visit for a specific illness or injury. During this appointment, you should receive preventive services like vaccines, disease screenings, and information that can help you make the most informed decisions possible about your health. Focusing on your health and wellness is the key, so when the check-up is over you should have documented your health history, received a physical exam, and left the office with concrete goals in place for the next year.

Your Health History
Before the exam begins, the doctor or nurse will ask you general questions about your health. Be prepared to discuss:

  • Your medical history
  • Your family’s medical history
  • Eating habits and fitness regimen
  • How often you use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
  • Sexual health history and the number of partners you’ve engaged with
  • Relationships and safety
  • Your mental health history, including depression or anxiety

The Exam
Your physical exam is the second step in your well-woman visit. During this exam, the doctor will likely measure your height and weight, calculate your body mass index, take your temperature, check your blood pressure, perform a breast exam, and perform a Pap test and pelvic exam. Depending on your medical history, you may have additional screenings performed based on your individual health risks.

What Should I Ask?
This annual check-up is a great time to ask your doctor or nurse any kind of general health questions that you may have been wondering about. Make note of the questions you have ahead of time so everything is covered. Start with questions about:

  • Any important vaccines you may need
  • What screenings you should undergo at your next appointment
  • Birth control options
  • STDs
  • Trying to get pregnant
  • Mental health issues
  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity

Your well-woman check-up is the perfect time for you to take control of your health. Don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns you might have so when you leave the office, you feel confident about your health.