Women's Health Services
Routine Annual Wellness Exams
Student Health Services offers affordable, confidential annual wellness exams. Annual wellness exams are an important part of your health. You should begin having annual wellness exams once you turn 18 or become sexually active, whichever happens first. This guide will help you know what to expect at your visit.
The purpose of an annual exam is to:
Examine your breasts to see that they look and feel normal
Examine and evaluate your reproductive organs
As indicated, screen your cervix for abnormal changes that might lead to cancer
Test for infections, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
If applicable, evaluate your current method of birth control and discuss options
Discuss any other sexual or reproductive concerns you might have
What Happens During an Annual Exam?
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.
NOTE: If you haven't already received them, talk to your healthcare provider about how to get vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV (human papillomavirus).
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.
Getting the Results of Your Exam
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 MyTeamCare patient portal. You will receive a notification via email prompting you to log on and check your messages.
Student Health Services provides education about and access to a wide variety of contraceptive methods. We offer prescriptions for birth control pills and the NuvaRing, insertion of the intrauterine devices (IUD), insertion of the Nexplanon implant, and administration of the Depo-Provera shot.
Emergency contraception (sold as Plan B) is available without a prescription at the
Student Wellness Center Pharmacy.
Condoms are the only method that provide protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). TTU students may pick up free condoms provided by RISE each day in the Student Wellness Center lobby.
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testing and Treatment
The best way to protect yourself and your partner from contracting an STI is to use condoms correctly and consistently every time you have sexual contact. STIs can be transmitted through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, and some (like herpes and HPV) can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact even without penetration.
Condoms are 98% effective at preventing both STI transmission and pregnancy when used correctly and consistently.
If you are sexually active, you should also get tested for STIs regularly. And make sure you get yourself tested before you become sexually active with a new partner.
I think I have an STI. What do I do?
If you're worried you have an STI—or worried that you might have been exposed to one—the best thing to do is to get tested. Worrying about symptoms or waiting indefinitely for them to appear won't put your mind at ease or help your body heal if you do have an STI.
At SHS, you can get easy, confidential STI testing. SHS will test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and syphilis. Herpes and HPV tests are also available, but are not recommended if you aren't experiencing symptoms.
If you're not comfortable getting tested at SHS, consider reaching out to the Lubbock health department or other primary care clinics around town.
Evaluation and Treatment for Other Common Gynecological Health Issues
• Care for Menstrual Concerns
• Pregnancy Testing and Referrals
• Breast Health Assessment
• Vaginal infections
• Urinary tract infections
Women's Health healthcare providers will refer patients to appropriate community resources for services not available at SHS.
Please watch our birth control video before taking the survey!
Birth Control Survey