Your well-woman checkups is all about you, your body, and your reproductive health. Well-woman checkups are also called gynecological exams, pelvic exams, or annual exams. If you have a vulva, breasts, or a uterus, these visits are an important part of taking care of your health (no matter what your gender identity is).
What happens during your well-woman checkups (some people call it a well woman exam) depends on a few things, like how old you are, your sexual history, and medical history.
It’s a good idea to have your first well-woman checkups around age 13 to 15. It may just be a talk with your doctor plus a regular physical exam. Your doctor or nurse will check your height, weight and blood pressure.
You might talk about your period, especially if you’re worried about it being heavy, painful, or irregular. If you’re under 18, you may get some shots, like the HPV vaccine, as well.
If you’re sexually active (meaning you’ve had vaginal, anal, or oral sex), you may talk about birth control or STD testing. Around age 21, you’ll start needing regular pelvic exams, Pap tests, and breast examinations. And as you get older, or as your health changes, your well-woman visits will include other tests and referrals for stuff like mammograms.
One thing that stays the same, no matter how old you are, is building a good, honest relationship with your doctor or nurse. You can talk about healthy relationships and other parts of your emotional health during your well-woman visit. The more honest you are, the better care you’ll get.
Have a breasts and/or a vagina but don’t identify as a woman? It’s still a good idea to have these kinds of check-ups with your nurse or doctor, along with any trans care you’re receiving.