Ladies, are you guilty of this?
You feel as though that as long as you have an annual Mammogram and Pap Smear that’s all you need for your annual women’s wellness checkup?
If so, then like my grandmother used to say, “you’ve got another think coming” Women’s Wellness Checkup is more than bikini bottom and boobs and we should also have other types of annual exams.
I honestly feel that had I had a more comprehensive physical exam which included blood tests years ago, perhaps my high A1C levels would have been detected and with diet and exercise changes I could have prevented a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis.
Please note, I am not a physician and you should check with your own doctor for assistance and health advice.
For women in their 40s and 50s like myself, there are several other health exams that we should have and below are just a few that I found on the Consumer Reports Website.
What to Do in Your 40s and 50s
- Breast cancer: At 40, talk with your doctor about when to start mammography screening. Most women can begin at age 50. However, if you have risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history, it may be advisable to start in your 40s. Consider having a mammogram every two years if you’re at low risk or annually if you are at higher risk for breast cancer.
- Cervical cancer: Have a Pap smear every three years. You can have the test every five years if you get tested for HPV at the same time.
- Sexually transmitted disease: Get tested annually for chlamydia and gonorrhea as long as you have new or multiple sex partners, or a partner who has a sexually transmitted infection.
- Blood pressure: Have it checked at least once every two years.
- Cholesterol: If you have no heart disease risk factors, get a blood test to check cholesterol levels at age 45. After that, test every three to five years depending on results.
- Type 2 diabetes: If you’re overweight or obese, have a family history of diabetes, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, get a fasting blood glucose test and an HbA1c test to measure long-term blood sugar control every three years depending on results.
- Colon cancer: At age 50, talk to your doctor about having either a colonoscopy every 10 years, a stool test every year, or sigmoidoscopy every five years with a stool test every three years. Other colon cancer screening options are available; ask your doctor what may be best for you.
Review With Your Doctor
- Contraception choices
- Diet, exercise, and sleep habits
- Smoking, alcohol consumption, and any substance-use habits
Note: This women’s healthcare checklist does not include recommendations for pregnant women.
Women’s Healthcare Tips
It’s important to continue thinking about contraception through menopause, says John Cullen, M.D., a family physician in Valdez, Alaska, and a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
And talk with your doctor if you are experiencing increasingly painful, heavy, or unpredictable periods, which can occur as you approach menopause. “A lot of women at this point actually benefit from medications [such as hormone-based birth control] that reduce periods, just to control bleeding,” Cullen says.
Let’s Chat > Are you guilty of neglecting your total health when it comes to annual exams? Please leave a comment and share with a friend who may need a friendly reminder as well.