An annual female physical exam includes procedures such as a breast and pelvic exam, according to WebMD. Routine tests for sexually transmitted diseases are commonly included.
During a breast exam, a health care practitioner checks the breasts for abnormal lumps. Breast lumps are either benign or an indication of breast cancer, explains WebMD. The practitioner also checks the lymph nodes in the underarm and examines the nipples and breasts for any visible abnormalities.
During a pelvic exam, a doctor looks at the vulva, vagina and cervix. The doctor may also administer Pap and HPV tests that help screen for cervical cancer and assess any risks, says WebMD. Typically, standard lab tests are not performed during an annual physical exam. However, some doctors order routine tests such as a complete blood count, chemistry panel or a urine analysis.
The point of a physical exam is to focus on health problem prevention. Women ages 40 and up begin annual mammogram screenings for breast cancer, notes WebMD. However, mammograms have risks as well as benefits, and a doctor should be consulted before submitting to one. On another note, many leading doctors have publicly stated that annual exams are not necessary for most healthy people.