The UHS Women's Health Clinic offers affordable, confidential annual wellness exams. Annual wellness exams are an important part of your sexual health. You should begin having annual wellness exams once you turn 18 or start having oral, vaginal, or anal sex, whichever happens first. This guide will help you know what to expect at your visit.
The Women’s Health Clinic welcomes any and all students who identify as women and all students who were assigned female at birth. This includes agender and nonbinary students, as well as students on the transmasculine spectrum. However, if you would prefer to receive care in the UHS General Medicine Clinic, call the appointment desk at 512-475-8265 (instead of using online scheduling) and ask to be seen in General Medicine. Make sure to mention the specific services you need so that you can be scheduled appropriately. You can also read a list of all services offered at the Women’s Health Clinic.
The purpose of an annual exam is to:
*NOTE: If you want a prescription for a hormonal method of birth control for the first time, please view Contraception for College Students Video Series or schedule an individual consultation before you see your Women's Health provider.
At your visit, your healthcare provider will ask about your and your family's medical history and any health concerns you may have. Before your appointment, write down any questions you'd like to discuss, so you don't forget to bring them up during your visit.
Your healthcare provider will examine your breasts to check to see that they look and feel normal. They may also examine the front of your neck to check for thyroid gland abnormalities.
The pelvic exam usually lasts only a few minutes and can include the following:
External Genital Exam
Your provider will examine your external genitals (vulva) and the areas around your vagina and anus for signs of infection or other concerns.
Your provider may insert a speculum, an instrument shaped like a slender duck bill, into your vagina much like a tampon is inserted. When the speculum is opened inside your vagina, your provider can examine your cervix (the entrance to your uterus) for abnormalities, including signs of infection, and collect any specimens needed for testing. You may feel mild discomfort or pressure during this part of the exam.
- Pap smear: For patients over the age of 21, the annual exam may include a Pap smear. If you are getting a Pap smear, your healthcare provider will brush the cervix to get a sample cells. These cells are sent for laboratory analysis. The Pap smear checks for abnormal changes in the cervix that could lead to cancer.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other vaginal infection testing: If you ask to be screened for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, your provider will use a swab to get a sample of your vaginal secretions, which will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Your provider can diagnose some infections by looking at a sample of your vaginal secretions under the microscope during your visit. You may also request blood tests for other STIs such as syphilis, herpes, HIV, and hepatitis B and C.
After the speculum is removed, your provider will gently insert one or two gloved and lubricated fingers into your vagina while pressing on the outside of your abdomen with the other hand. This checks your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries for proper size and placement, abnormal growths, pain, or other signs that might indicate a problem or a need for further testing.
Before you leave, your healthcare provider will discuss with you any areas of concern that were detected during your exam and will tell you how to get results for any tests that were performed. Any messages sent after your appointment about testing results or follow-up care will be sent via secure message to your MyUHS page. You will receive a notification via email prompting you to log on and check your messages.