Lots of plans are being put on the back burner during COVID-19. But the one thing that should stay high on your priority list? Your health! We are open and want to encourage our patients not to skip important health screenings for women. These appointments are critical for catching potential issues early so that you can minimize their impacts on your life.
While you may not need to schedule every type of screening every year, here are vital health screenings for women to know about in 2020:
- Blood pressure screening
- Cholesterol screening
- Pelvic exam and pap smear
- STI testing
- Colorectal screening
Learn more about these recommended health screenings for women below.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for women in the U.S. However, if it’s caught during an early stage, the treatment outcomes are very positive. That’s why breast exams and mammograms are such important health screenings for women. It allows your women’s health provider to discover any lumps, test for cancer, and if necessary, start treatment before it progresses.
Blood pressure screening
When you attend a regular physical or a well-woman visit, taking your blood pressure is usually one of the first things to happen. Blood pressure helps measure your heart health, risk for stroke, and other health indicators. Ideally, have it checked every 1-2 years. If you’d like to monitor it more regularly, you can purchase an at-home machine relatively affordably. If the top number is above 130 and the bottom is above 80, it’s time to explore lifestyle and treatment options for reducing your blood pressure.
Along with blood pressure, cholesterol is another recommended health screening for women that speaks directly to your heart health and disease risk. If you have high cholesterol, you’ll also be at greater risk for heart disease and stroke. Unless you already have a condition like diabetes, heart disease risk factors, or kidney problems, the recommended starting age for a cholesterol test is 45. It’s measured with a blood test and can be combined with other general health appointments. If you have a high result, many lifestyle changes that reduce blood pressure can also help with cholesterol.
Pelvic exam and pap smear
Pelvic exams are recommended health screenings for women that take place more frequently, often as part of your annual visit where your women’s health provider will check for any other signs of illness. From ages 21-29, doctors recommend a pap smear every two years to screen for cervical cancer. From ages 30-65, doctors recommend a pap smear every three years to screen for cervical cancer. It can be done less frequently if replaced with an HPV test, since this virus causes most cases of cervical cancer.
Sexually active women can choose how frequently they get STI testing, but gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most regularly recommended. Whether you have symptoms or not, it can help you stay informed about your health and move forward with confidence. Pregnant women should also get a range of STI tests early on since diseases can impact maternal and fetal health.
Under age 50, colorectal screening is only necessary if you have risk factors or a family history of colon cancer or polyps. After that, colorectal screenings are recommended for women ages 50-75. Most of these test types are non-invasive, as an actual colonoscopy is only recommended every ten years or if warning signs are detected from other test results.
We specialize in the full spectrum of women’s health services, including gynecologic care, STI testing and treatment, breast health services, and more. Stay on top of your health, and contact us to schedule your health screenings for women today.