Women's Health

Kirk Family Practice

Family Medicine located in Smyrna, DE

Women need special preventive care and routine screenings to maintain their optimal reproductive health, which in turn affects their overall well-being. At Kirk Family Practice in Smyrna, Delaware, Dr. Deborah Kirk and FNP Nicole Howard offer women’s health care services, such as annual exams and Pap smears. Call the office to stay on top of your health.

Women's Health Q & A

What is a women’s health exam?

An annual well-woman exam includes a general health check along with a pelvic exam. This annual exam offers many benefits, including:

  • Early detection of gynecologic medical problems
  • Promotion of preventive care practices
  • Recognition of risk factors for a variety of diseases
  • Referral for health screenings, such as a colonoscopy

Annual visits also give a woman a chance to establish a relationship with Dr. Kirk. This makes it easier to discuss personal health concerns should they arise.

When should I schedule an annual well-woman checkup?

All women benefit from an annual exam, including girls age 13 and up. Teenagers won’t likely have a pelvic exam but may undergo a comprehensive physical. This gives teen girls the chance to ask questions about their sexuality, periods, and other concerns.

Women who have gone through menopause still need annual exams, too. Certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and osteoporosis, become more common after menopause.

What specific concerns are involved in women’s health?

All women receive a physical exam that includes a check of their height, weight, and vital signs. Dr. Kirk may review any changes to your medical history and ask about any symptoms you’re having. She’ll discuss issues with you, such as proper nutrition and smoking cessation if you smoke.

At a well-woman checkup, you’ll also undergo a pelvic exam, Pap test, and manual breast exam. If you have symptoms such as irregular periods, pelvic pain, or abnormal discharge, Dr. Kirk can check for vaginal infections or a urinary tract infection. She may refer you to a gynecologist if it’s suspected you have a condition such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. If you’re sexually active, Dr. Kirk may recommend testing for sexually transmitted diseases and counsel you on birth control.

As you grow older, Dr. Kirk can help you with the transition through menopause and schedule mammograms to screen for breast cancer or a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis.

Dr. Kirk and the entire practice of Kirk Family Practice wants to provide you with the knowledge and information to make the best choices for your health.

What is a Pap test?

A Pap smear is routinely performed at your pelvic exams. The test screens you for abnormal cells, which can indicate you’re at risk for cervical cancer.

During the test, a swab is used to collect cells from your cervix. You feel slight pressure, but no pain. The cells are sent to a laboratory for analysis. If the Pap test comes back positive, you may need additional tests to look for precancerous tissue on your cervix. An abnormal Pap test does not always mean you have cancer though, so Dr. Kirk can walk you through the necessary steps for watching waiting or retesting.

To take advantage of the women’s health care services offered at Kirk Family Practice, call the office.