It’s important to check in with your clinician at least once a year for an annual wellness visit, sometimes called a well visit or “physical,” even if nothing is wrong. It can not only help your overall health but can be a way for you to get more familiar with your clinician, therefore feeling more at ease talking to them about any health issues that may arise throughout the year.
A wellness visit or annual visit is about health screenings, preventive care, your health goals, and any questions you might have. You can use this time to bring up anything that is going on with your health so that you and your clinician can decide on a plan moving forward. Some topics may require a follow-up visit, which you and your clinician can figure out together.
Here are 5 things you may want to do at a wellness exam:
1. Bring up anything that has been bothering you or any symptoms you may be having.
Make sure to talk about any changes in your health since the last time you met with your clinician. Be sure to bring up any physical changes, changes in your sexual health, as well as mental health or mood changes. Sex and mental health are a big part of your overall wellness and shouldn’t be ignored, so don’t be afraid to talk about these things. We’re LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, after all! A dedicated visit to discuss medication, lifestyle, therapy, or other support options might be helpful or needed, but you can start the conversation now.
Discuss any chronic conditions or risk factors to see if your clinician can help you manage them better. If you’re receiving care for these conditions outside of FOLX, you may want to talk about whether it makes sense for us to manage your care instead or collaborate with other members of your care team. We can treat many health needs, including high blood pressure or hypertension. You can read more about the care we can manage here.
As a reminder, we can be your primary care provider (PCP), and as a PCP, we are a great place to start with any health concerns and questions. We can then refer you to any specialists to manage conditions outside of our scope. Our nationwide referral network and our team of Member Navigators will ensure you get connected to an affirming provider in your area for any needs you might have outside of FOLX.
2. Discuss which health screenings are recommended.
There are certain lab tests and health screenings that are recommended each year, depending on how old you are, what body parts you currently have, and what your overall health picture looks like. We can help you determine what health screenings might be beneficial and order any labs for you. You can get labs done at your closest Quest lab, where we have discounts on rates, or you can use your in-network insurance to cover labs. Once the labs are back, we will follow up with you to discuss any results as needed. We can also refer you to an in-person provider if any specialist or in-person care is needed.
3. Make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations.
Are you up to date on your vaccines? Have you had your COVID vaccine or a flu shot if it’s the season? Is there any reason to consider additional vaccines, for example, if you have a new baby in the family or haven’t had an HPV vaccination series? Your clinician can help you make sure you’re up to date and protected.
4. Consider any changes to current prescriptions.
Discuss any medications and/or supplements that you are currently taking to monitor for interactions, as well as if these are the optimal and recommended medications for your health conditions or goals. Some people don’t know that vitamins and natural supplements can interact or interfere with their medications, so you should aim to discuss everything you’re taking. Depending on your life stage for instance, if you might want to become pregnant in the next year, you might also have recommended vitamins, like a prenatal or vitamin D. This is also a good time to discuss if you want any changes to your medications or need to add anything new.
5. Talk through goals and next steps.
Talking through your health goals can help make sure your clinician has the full picture of your care. If you’re getting gender-affirming care through FOLX, you might want to talk about your transition goals and any plans for the year, like gender-affirming surgeries or other procedures. If you’re thinking about family building this year, you might want to discuss fertility or fertility preservation, surrogacy, or adoption options. Thinking through your goals can help guide your care.
You can then decide with your clinician if there’s anything you want to follow up about that may require another visit, and when your next visit to check in should be.
In conclusion, your annual wellness visit is an important step in maintaining and enhancing your overall health. Remember, discussing concerns like current or ongoing symptoms, checking in about health screenings, vaccinations, or prescription changes, and sharing your personal health goals is a great way to make the most of your annual well visit. At FOLX, we're committed to providing comprehensive, affirming care tailored to your unique needs. You can schedule your next wellness exam right from your FOLX account or reach out to support for any questions. Your health is our top priority, and we're here to support you every step of the way in your wellness journey.
FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include virtual primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, preventive care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary, you can find LGBTQIA+-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. FOLX Health is health care that's queer all year. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!