If you are reading this you are probably someone who eats well, works out, and tries very hard to take care of yourself. As a woman who is cognizant of their health and wellbeing, you may wonder what medical exams or checks you should be getting regularly to ensure that you are as healthy as you want to be. Many women's health services suggest that everyone who identifies as female be seen at least once yearly, though your doctor may suggest more frequent visits. There are several tests that most women undergo regularly in order to ensure everything is in order. Some of these tests include but are not limited to:
A Breast Exam
Every woman should be checking their breasts monthly for any abnormal lumps, bumps, or sensitive areas. In addition to your self-checks, your physician will conduct a breast exam yearly. You can use your physician's exam as a baseline for your self-breast exam if you haven't been keeping up on it. When women are young, they have extremely thick breast tissue which will become thinner over time. Once a woman is around 30, their breast tissue will likely be thin enough that they can begin receiving mammograms regularly.
A Pap Smear
A pap smear is a test that checks for cervical cancer. It is performed during a pelvic exam by a gynecologist. Most doctors recommend that women begin receiving a pap smear every three years once they are sexually active or around age 21. There are many STDs that can lead to cervical cancer such as HPV, so your doctor may also discuss blood tests to check for sexually transmitted diseases if you have an abnormal pap smear.
Regular blood work can help you and your doctor to know what is going on with you internally. Most physicians order blood work each year that includes a workup on your thyroid, your blood count, and some may even recommend getting an STD panel (as discussed previously).
In conclusion, getting these tests (and any others that your doctor recommends) regularly will likely help you to ensure that your health stays in tip-top condition for your lifetime. Should something come back as irregular, your regular visits will help you to find any conditions early and treat them promptly so that they do not become a big issue. Begin in your early 20's to schedule regular exams with your woman's healthcare professional. Someday you may be extremely grateful that you did.