The words “complete physical exam” have long stirred up feelings of concern in many young women. Many wonder why on earth they need a complete physical exam, especially when they’re feeling well. Often, women put off having a physical exam primarily because of fear of the unknown. However, it is important for women, particularly, to have regular physical exams as part of maintaining their health. Knowing what to expect at a physical exam can make the entire experience easier.

Why have a physical examination at all?

There are a number of reasons why all women should have a regular physical exam. First, regular consultations allow your doctor to get to know you a little bit better. In this way, he or she will be better able to deal with your problems if and when they arise in the future. Second, a routine physical exam is important to make sure that everything is developing normally. If problems are found, it is always important to pick them up as early as possible. Third, it is important for women to have annual screening for problems such as cervical and breast cancer, and possibly sexually transmitted diseases. Finally, the routine physical allows you to discuss plans for good health and safe living. You can discuss healthy eating, relationship issues, birth control, prevention of infection, and other important topics.

Who should I see for a physical exam?

Family doctors are skilled in doing routine physical exams. If you already have a family doctor, you’re all set. If you don’t have a family doctor, ask your friends and family members for recommendations as to who to see. You can also call your local chapter of the College of Physicians and Surgeons for a list of doctors in your area who are willing to take on new patients. Whether you see a male or a female doctor is entirely up to you. Some women feel more comfortable with a female doctor, while to others it makes no difference. If you see a male doctor, there will likely be a female assistant in the room to help him with the exam.

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