Regular check-ups help a woman stay healthy at all ages. Factors like age and family history determine certain health risks that may require further testing to prevent future problems. Cancer and heart disease prevention is important for women. We want you to play an active role in maintaining good health.
At your routine visit, you will receive a physical examination and a thorough review of your health history. Take this time to discuss any health problems or concerns with your doctor or nurse practitioner including your heart attack risk. We may also suggest several lifestyle recommendations such as weight control, exercise, smoking cessation, and limiting the use of alcohol and caffeine. Bowel problems such as constipation, hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome may also be discussed.
Additionally, you will be told about any tests and immunizations needed for your specific age group. Recent media attention to new guidelines for screening pap smears and mammograms has created confusion among women accustomed to having a pap smear and/or mammogram annually. With the new guidelines, cervical cancer screening may begin later in a young woman's life and then be scheduled on the basis of her age, previous test results, and other risk factors. For many patients, this could mean that cervical cytology screening will take place at intervals of 2-3 years rather than every year. (Will I have a pap at my annual exam?)
Even though a pap smear or mammogram may not be performed annually, women still need an annual exam so that the breasts and ovaries can be examined. Regular check-ups help a woman stay healthy at all ages. Factors like age and family history determine certain health risks that may require further testing to prevent future problems. The frequency of screening mammograms should be based on these factors.
We want you to play an active role in maintaining good health. If indicated, a pap smear may be performed and a mammogram ordered. Additionally, women ages 13 to 39 should have a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster and possibly the hepatitis B vaccination series. The Gardasil vaccine (Gardasil9) for HPV may be suggested for girls and women ages 9 to 45. Ages 40 to 64 will also need cholesterol testing, colorectal cancer screening, fasting glucose testing and flu vaccine. Women over 50 years old may also need the Shingles vaccine (Shingrix). Ages 65 and older will need to add a urinalysis and pneumococcal vaccine.
We believe in practicing preventive care; working with your health care provider on a regular basis will ensure you have all the tests and immunizations needed to keep you healthy for years to come.