An annual well-woman check should be a part of every woman’s medical care schedule. This is a time set aside for you, not tied to any acute sickness or injury, to check in with your health care provider about your physical, sexual and emotional well-being.
In many cases this will be your OB/GYN provider; for others, their primary care provider may be qualified to do it.
These appointments generally have three functions: preventive health measures like vaccines, screening for potential disease during and after the fact, and patient education about healthy lifestyle choices. Some of the topics your provider may want to discuss include:
- Your personal and family health history.
- Reproductive history and health.
- Use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, plus supplements.
- Dietary and physical activity habits.
- Home life and relationships.
- Mental health and any use of alcohol, marijuana or illegal drugs.
This also is the time for you to ask questions about reproductive health matters including potential pregnancy and symptoms that could be related to fibroids or cysts, disorders such as endometriosis or menopause.
The physical exam for these visits usually consists of a pelvic exam with a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and HPV, a manual breast exam and recording general information like height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate and other relevant data.
Your provider likely will want to talk about setting health goals that will improve your well-being and can be followed up on a year later, if not sooner. Future screening and lab work can also be scheduled based on age and current health:
- Mammograms and other cancer-related screenings.
- Bone density test.
- STD screening.
- High blood sugar, triglycerides or cholesterol.
- Thyroid and hormone levels.
- Screening and treatment for depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns.
Well-woman visits lay the foundation for a positive partnership with your provider and your path to good health. Look at them as opportunities rather than chores, and schedule yours soon if you haven’t already.
Local Park Ranger among Young Visionaries Internationally Recognized
The North American Association for Environmental Education is proud to announce its sixth class of 30 leaders 30 and younger using environmental education to build sustainable and equitable communities around the world.
Twenty-eight-old Ellen Bashor is a park ranger and education director at the City of Prescott’s Community Nature Center. She has lived in Prescott for more than a decade and is devoted to creating inclusive and accessible environmental education opportunities for learners of all ages.
After teaching environmental education at Prescott College, Bashor turned her experience and passion toward an initiative to connect public lands and public schools in a partnership that provides free outdoor and environmental learning opportunities to students.
Today with three park rangers, four new outdoor classrooms, community programs and a new trail system at Granite Mountain and Abia Judd schools, Bashor has helped the Community Nature Center grow from a few visits each week to more than 13,000 student visits in the 2020-2021 school year.
“I just want to recognize the immense power of collaboration,” Bashor says. “When we identify needs in our community, pool resources and respond to them together — anything is possible.
“None of this could have happened without the hard work of our community volunteers, the innovative and dedicated leaders at both our Recreation Services Department and Prescott Unified School districts, the commitment of Arizona Serve’s AmeriCorps state and VISTA members, the generous and visionary donors, and all the young folks and elders in our community who share their joy and wisdom daily.”
The awardees in this year’s environmental education 30 Under 30 Class of 2021 range in age from 17 to 30, and include social entrepreneurs, artists, researchers and educators from 13 countries.
From designing artistic and educational programs to conserve and uphold ancestral environments, cultures and languages in the U.S. to creating beekeeping community youth groups in Kenya, these leaders use environmental education to address complex sustainability issues in their communities. Their collective work reaches more than 300,000 people yearly.
The class of 2021 will join the global community of inspiring leaders and will receive ongoing support to expand their impact through networking, peer mentoring, global recognition and opportunities for professional development and grants.
Learn more about the North American Association for Environmental Education’s 30 Under 30 program at cdn.naaee.org/sites/default/files/u31406/30_under_30_brochure.8.23.21.pdf. Read about this year’s winners at naaee.org/ee30under30.