Empowering Women To Take Control Of Their Health

behavioral health

At Washington Health Institute, we believe that healthy women equal healthy communities. Our providers work closely with patients to help guide and support you on your health journey.

We recommend that all women receive a thorough gynecological exam once a year. The gynecological exam is aimed at overall wellness and preventative care, which is vital for women’s sexual, breast and reproductive health.

The gynecological exam includes the following:

  • Overview of your medical history
  • Breast exam
  • Pelvic exam
  • Cervical cancer screen via pap smear
  • Breast cancer screening via mammogram
  • STI and contraception care

Talk To Your Provider

We know there is a lot of information (and myths) out there about women’s health. You may think to yourself— is this normal? Ask your provider! It’s important to be honest with your provider when talking about your health, especially when it involves your gynecological care. At Washington Health Institute, we want you to be open about your medical history and any health concerns you may have.

The Breast Exam

Part of a gynecological exam at our Washington D.C. office is a breast exam, during which a provider will check the breasts for any lumps. The exam should only last for a few seconds and should not be painful. In addition to the annual clinical breast exam, we encourage women to perform monthly self-examinations of your breasts at home, so that you are familiar with what feels normal to you and able to recognize when something feels wrong. If you ever detect a lump that feels abnormal, call your provider.

The Pelvic Exam

In preparation for the pelvic exam, you will be asked to lay down on the exam table and place your legs apart. Using a speculum and their gloved hands, your provider will check your vagina, cervix and reproductive organs for any abnormalities. Pap smears are also typically performed at routine intervals. You should not feel any pain during the pelvic exam, but you may feel some discomfort. The best way to prevent discomfort is by staying calm and relaxing your muscles as much as possible.

Pap Smear And Cancer Screening

A Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer and HPV. During a Pap smear, your provider will open the vagina using a speculum and carefully collect cells from the cervix using a tiny brush. The sample is then checked in the lab for cells that are abnormal. A Pap smear may be uncomfortable, but the procedure should not be painful. Should your pap smear reveal cancerous cells or abnormal results, we will contact you.

STI And Contraception Care

We offer screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). During your pelvic exam, your provider will take pelvic, oral and blood samples. Your provider will recommend how often you should be tested for STIs depending on your sexual health and history. We aim to educate patients on safe sex practices in a confident, judgement-free environment.

As part of your gynecological exam, we will talk about your sexual history, family planning and overall reproductive health. We provide contraception care, including oral birth control pills, hormonal patches, intravaginal rings (NuvaRing®, Annovera®), intramuscular injections (Depo-Provera®) and more. The providers at our Washington, D.C. office are happy to discuss different contraception options to find an option that works best for your sexual and reproductive health.

Mammogram Screening

We recommend a mammogram, or X-ray scan of the breasts, once a year or as recommended by your provider, between the ages of 40-50, depending on your risk. If you are considered to be at high risk for developing breast cancer, we may recommend a mammogram at an earlier age. Mammograms screenings help detect breast cancer before symptoms even start presenting. During a mammogram, the breasts are placed against a platform and compressed as they are X-rayed. A radiologist will then examine the images of your breast tissue following the exam.