Women's Health

Recommended screenings for women:

Screening Tests

Ages 18 - 39

General Health:
Full checkup, including weight and height

 

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Annually if covered by insurance. 

Thyroid test (TSH)

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. 

Heart Health:
Blood pressure test

 

 

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. At least every 2 years if normal, every year if elevated. 

Cholesterol test

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Start at age 20 and test regularly if at an increased risk. 

Diabetes:
Blood glucose test

 

 

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Get tested if your blood pressure is over 135/80 or if on blood pressure medication.

Reproductive Health:
Pap test & pelvic exam

 

Every 1-3 years if you have been sexually active or are older than 21. Every 5 years if over 30. 

 

Chlamydia test

Yearly until age 24 if sexually active. Those 25 and older, get this test if you have new or multiple partners. All pregnant women should have this test.

 

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests

Both partners should get tested for STDs, including HIV, before initiating sexual intercourse. Get tested if sexually active with high risk behaviors. 

Mental Health Screening

Discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Skin Health:
Mole exam

 

Monthly mole self-exam; by a doctor every 3 years, starting at age 20.

 

Oral Health:
Dental exam

 

One to two times every year (every 6 to 12 months.)

Immunizations:
Influenza vaccine

 

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Recommended annually. 

Pneumococcal vaccine

Discuss with your doctor. One time only.

Tetanus-diphtheria booster vaccine

Every 10 years.

Human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV)

Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Recommended for those between 13 and 26 years of age. 

Meningococcal vaccine

Discuss with your doctor or nurse if attending college.

 

Weight Control:

Eating right, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of staying healthy. However, weight loss attempts can be dangerous and may lead to eating disorders. Stay away from weight loss techniques that:

  • Rely on pills or substances.
  • Do not include a variety of foods.
  • Are very low calorie.
  • Require more than 60 min of exercise per day.
  • Extreme diets have many consequences including light-headedness, exercise injury, anemia, brittle hair and nails, kidney damage, heart damage, and even death.

 

Heart Disease is the Number 1 Killer of Women

Increased risk factors include smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol , and family history of heart disease.
Start taking care of your heart now by eating heart healthy foods, exercising, keeping a healthy weight, and not smoking.
Get your cholesterol checked beginning at age 20.

 

Sexual Health

Women are at risk for many sexual health problems including breast cancer, menstrual problems, vaginal infections, and infertility.

See a doctor for any of the following symptoms:

  • Burning or itching around the vagina or anus.
  • Sores around the vagina.
  • Unusual discharge.
  • Pain in lower abdominal area.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Unusually heavy or painful menstruation.
  • Lumps in the breast.

Reduce your risk by:

  • Getting an annual Pap smear.
  • Doing self breast exams.
  • Getting tested for STI’s if at risk.
  • Using a condom.
  • Not using douches, strong soaps, or sprays in the vaginal area.
  • Being aware of any changes.

 

Urinary Track Infections

Prevention:

  • Wash the genital area daily with mild soap, rinse well and dry thoroughly.
  • Drink plenty of water – a minimum of eight, 8 ounce glasses per day, or more if you’re physically active.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods, which can irritate the urinary tract in some people.
  • Urinate frequently and empty your bladder completely. This helps eliminate bacteria before infections can develop.
  • Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement. This reduces the chance of bacteria being transported to the urethra from the anus. Using unscented bathroom tissue can help.
  • Don’t use douches, strong soaps, deodorants or sprays on the genital area.
  • Urinate before and after intercourse. This may help eliminate bacteria that might have been introduced to the urethra during intercourse.
  • Shower instead of taking a bath.
  • Drinking a small glass of cranberry juice every day may help prevent infection by making urine less hospitable to bacteria. But be aware that cranberry juice may cause bladder irritation in some people.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Common symptoms of UTI in the bladder (cystitis):

  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Feeling a sudden, urgent need to urinate.
  • Urinating more often than usual.
  • Urinating only small amounts even though the bladder feels full.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Cloudy or foul smelling urine.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen especially when urinating.

Common symptoms of urethritis:

  • Same as bladder infection, but without lower abdominal pain.

Common symptoms of kidney infection

  • Symptoms of bladder infection (sometimes).
  • Back pain, usually on one side, located at about the level of the lower ribs.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea (sometimes).
  • Abdominal pain (sometimes).

 

Treatment

  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out the urinary tract. This won’t cure the infection, but may help relieve symptoms.
  • Don’t have sex until you are checked by your health care provider.
  • Get plenty of rest to help your body fight the infection.
  • Limit foods that may cause urinary burning, such as coffee tea, alcohol, spicy food and carbonated drinks.

 

See a Health Care Provider if:

  • You have UTI symptoms.
  • You experience frequent UTI even through you use prevention measures.
  • You were treated for UTI but the symptoms didn’t go away.

 

Sexual Assault/Rape

Rape is any type of forced or pressured sexual intercourse including oral, anal, and vaginal. Even if you are unconscious or too impaired to refuse, or too scared to argue, it is still considered rape if you do consent. It can be done by an acquaintance, a friend or someone you know casually; a date, or a stranger. It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone.

Don't be a victim- ways to protect yourself:

  • Drink wisely, don't let yourself become too impaired to make clear decisions.
  • Always go out, especially to the bars or clubs, with friends and stay together.
  • Never leave a drink unattended and don't accept a drink from a stranger unless you open it yourself. This puts you at risk for date rape drugs which are odorless and tasteless.
  • If you are going somewhere and won't be out until dark, park your car in a place that will be well lit.
  • Lock your doors, even while home.
  • Take elevators instead of stairwells alone.

 

For more information on protecting yourself visit:

http://www.womentraveltips.com/tips5.shtml