During your 20s, you should have a routine preventive care visit every two years. There are two main reasons why you need an actual office visit:
- Blood pressure check
- Pelvic exam with a Pap smear
During the visit, your doctor also can see if you are up-to-date on vaccinations. For example, you might not have had the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts yet (HPV vaccine).
Plus, when you have an office visit every two years, your doctor can review your family medical history, diet, exercise habits and use of tobacco and alcohol.
Doctors often screen for depression during a routine checkup by asking:
- Have you been feeling sad or hopeless?
- Have you noticed a loss of interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy?
A "yes" answer to either of these questions would lead to a more detailed evaluation for depression.
You may feel fine. But a routine checkup gives you a chance to ask medical questions not worthy of a separate appointment.
More Answers from Howard LeWine, MD