A Well Woman Visit (annual exam) gives you an opportunity to discuss your questions or concerns about birth control, your monthly periods, or other female health issues with your healthcare provider. Both a Pap test and a pelvic exam may be components of the annual visit. However, not every annual exam requires a Pap test. Your provider will discuss this with you. We can also test you for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) during an annual visit.
What to Expect
When you come to the Student Health Center for a visit, your health care provider will review the information that you completed in HealthyPackPortal in the exam room. Some of the questions deal with sexual history, and they may seem personal. However your answers help us determine the kinds of tests you might need. Your provider will then review your history and may have additional questions for you. It is also important to know your family history. If you have specific concerns or are transgender let us know before your physical.
Your exam will begin in a sitting position so the provider can check lymph nodes, thyroid, lungs, heart and skin. The health care provider will then ask you to lie down on the examination table for a breast and abdominal exam. She may also teach you how to do a monthly breast self-exam. If you are interested in learning to do one please ask.
If a pelvic exam is needed then your health care provider will ask you to slide down to the end of the table put your feet in the stirrups and bring your bottom to the end of the table. Your health care provider will talk you through this and then inspect your external labia and perform a Pap test and pelvic exam.
During your Pap test, your health care provider will insert a speculum, or an instrument that allows your health care provider to see your cervix better, into your vagina. With the speculum in place, your health care provider will use a brush to collect cells from the cervix. Your health care provider will then send these cells to a laboratory for examination.
After removing the speculum, your health care provider will place one hand on your lower abdomen and one or two gloved fingers of the other hand inside your vagina. Your health care provider will then press gently on your cervix, uterus and ovaries, and note whether any of these is painful or enlarged.
UNC-Chapel Hill provides animated demonstrations of both the Pap test and the pelvic exam that will help you understand what will happen during these procedures. There is never any cutting during a Pap test or a pelvic exam. You will need Macromedia Flash Plug-in to view the animations.
After your Pap test and pelvic exam, your health care provider will ask you to get dressed. The provider will return to discuss your concerns and questions shared at the beginning of the appointment and share her recommendations. You may experience cramping or light spotting for a short time after you have had a Pap test. We can provide you with light day pads.
Schedule your Annual Women’s Health Exam on HealthyPackPortal or call 919.515.2563.