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Well Woman Visits

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says most women no longer need annual Pap tests, but they still need annual well-woman exams by their ob/gyn.

ACOG says the annual well-woman exam is important because it's an opportunity for doctors to counsel patients about following a healthy lifestyle and reducing health risks. The visit includes a physical exam that assesses overall health, including blood pressure and weight.

A pelvic exam is a common part of the ob-gyn visit. Women should start undergoing annual pelvic exams at age 21.

Another important part of the well-woman visit is the clinical breast exam. ACOG and other health/medical groups say it should be done every one to three years for women aged 20 to 39.  Women aged 40 and older should have annual clinical breast exams and annual mammograms.