Blog Fitness Self improvement

Women’s Health–At What Age Do We Need Certain Tests?

Make your health a priority. So many moms are busy taking care of others–don’t forget to take care of yourself too!

The new year can be the perfect time to recommit to a healthy lifestyle. And an important part of good health is making sure you’re up to date on the recommended health screenings for women your age. Check out the guide below for health screening recommendations by age.  In addition you should also consult with your doctor about the screenings that make sense based on your individual health concerns. Take a look at these recommendations to answer your questions about women’s health and at what age we need certain tests.

women's health

 

In Your 20s

Cervical Cancer Screening

Screening for cervical cancer starts at age 21 with a pap smear. In general, you will continue to have pap smears every three years after your first screening. Depending on your individual risk factors and results you may need a pap smear more or less often after the first screening.

Screening for STDs

Once you become sexually active, you should begin screening for sexually transmitted diseases starting in your 20s, if not before. Expect to screen annually if you have new or multiple partners. Or a known exposure to a partner with a sexually transmitted disease. In addition discuss your individual risks and the specific screenings you need with your women’s healthcare provider.

Blood Pressure Screening

Also starting in your 20s, you should have a blood pressure screening every two years.

Other Possible Health Screenings

If you’re obese or have a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend a blood glucose test in your 20s or 30s. Likewise cholesterol screening may also start in your 20s if your family history or individual risk factors warrant it.

health screening

 

In Your 30s

Blood Pressure Screenings

Continuing to have your blood pressure screened every 2 years is an important part of maintaining your health in your 30s. If your blood pressure is abnormal your doctor will likely recommend yearly screenings.

Cholesterol

Next be sure to have your healthcare provider do a cholesterol test. The results will let your doctor know how frequently you need to be retested and any changes you need to make to improve your cholesterol.

Thyroid Test

At age 35, you may want to consider having your thyroid checked. An underactive thyroid can cause weight gain. And an overactive thyroid can indicate an underlying disease. You should be screened even sooner if you have any symptoms that may be related to thyroid, including mood changes or weight issues.

Cervical Cancer Screening & STD Testing

You will want to continue pap smears and screening for sexually transmitted diseases in your 30s. Discuss your personal history with your doctor to find out how often you need to be screened.

Breast Exams

There is some controversy about whether breast self-exams and clinical breast exams reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer. That said, there are plenty of reasons to continue these screenings. Talk to your provider to find out the pros and cons of this screening for you.

Skin Cancer Screening

If you have fair skin, have ever used tanning beds, or a family history of skin cancer, have your healthcare provider do a check on of your skin.  Especially talk to a dermatologist about any moles that are asymmetrical, change size, are larger than a pencil eraser or start to bleed.

mammogram

In Your 40s

Breast Exam and Mammogram

The American Cancer Society recommends having your first mammogram by age 45. Other experts recommend starting closer to age 40. And family history and individual health can play a part in making the decision on when to start.  Due to it’s importance consult with your doctor about when you need to get this screening.

Blood Sugar

The unhealthy eating of your younger years and hormones that come along with getting older can result in weight gain and blood sugar changes that can lead to diabetes. Around age 45 most doctors recommend a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. If you’re at higher risk, you may need this screening sooner.

Cholesterol

Continue to monitor and have your cholesterol checked about every two years. This test could save your life. If you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about your diet, medications and lifestyle changes you can make to protect yourself from a heart attack and stroke.

Cervical Cancer Screening & STD Testing

You will want to continue pap smears and screening for sexually transmitted diseases in your 40s. Discuss your personal history with your doctor to find out how often you need to be screened.

Eye Exam

Even if you’ve never needed glasses before, you may notice it’s getting harder to read or stare at a computer screen. It’s time for an eye exam. And starting in your 40s you should have your eyes checked for vision changes and disease every 2 to 4 years.

Skin Cancer Screening

Continue to check your skin for unusual moles or spots. And request your provider examine your skin at your annual health exam.

In Your 50s

Colonoscopy

Everyone needs to have a screening colonoscopy at age 50.

Breast Exam and Mammogram

In your 50s you should be having a mammogram every 1 or 2 years. And have your healthcare provider check for breast changes annually.

Blood Sugar

Diabetes can destroy your health. It’s that simple. In your 50s, it’s a good idea to have a fasting blood sugar test done every three years to catch any early signs of diabetes.

Cholesterol

You’ll want to have your cholesterol checked throughout your 50s. Talk to your doctor about your personal and family health history to determine how often you need to be checked.

Cervical Cancer Screening & STD Testing

Pap smears should be done every 3 to 5 years, depending on your history. And as long as you are sexually active with new or multiple partners, continuing screening for sexually transmitted diseases is an important part of maintaining your health.

Eye Exam

Have your vision checked and your eyes screened for eye disease every 1 to 3 years. More frequent screenings may be needed as your vision changes.

Skin Cancer Screening

Continue to check your skin for unusual moles or spots. And request your provider examine your skin at your annual health exam.

blood pressure screening

In your 60s and Beyond

Bone Mineral Density Exam

Bone Density Scanning, sometimes called a DEXA scan, is recommended for any woman that has had a fracture or is at increased risk for bone loss due to other risk factors. But once you reach age 65, all women should have a bone mineral density exam. This screening should then occur every one or two years after your first scan.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

You should have a colonoscopy every 10 years after the first test when you’re 50. There are also other tests that can help screen for colorectal cancer. These include fecal occult blood tests, CT colonography, and barium enemas. Talk to your doctor about the screenings that are right for you.

Thyroid Testing

Having a TSH thyroid screening every 5 years starting at age 35 is the recommendation from The American Thyroid Association. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends screening starting at age 60. Discuss the schedule that makes sense for you with your healthcare provider. Regardless, this screening is something you should be having in your 60s.

Breast Exam and Mammogram

In your 60s and beyond continue having a mammogram every 1 or 2 years. And have your healthcare provider check for breast changes annually.

Blood Sugar

In your 60s and beyond, continue to have a fasting blood sugar test done every three years to catch any early signs of diabetes. A blood sugar test may need to be done more often if you are overweight or have risk factors for diabetes.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol checks should be done throughout your 60s and continue as you age. Talk to your doctor about your personal and family health history to determine how often you need to be checked.

Cervical Cancer Screening & STD Testing

Depending on your history, have a pap smear every 3 to 5 years. If at age 65, you have a history of normal results and no risk factors, you may be able to discontinue this screening. Discuss this with your doctor. And even if you discontinue pap smears, a pelvic and gynecological exam is still recommended by doctors, even if you’ve had a hysterectomy.

And as long as you are sexually active with new or multiple partners, continuing screening for sexually transmitted diseases is an important part of maintaining your health.

Eye Exam

Have your vision checked and your eyes screened for eye disease every 1 to 3 years. As your vision changes, you will need more frequent screening. Screening for cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration should happen at age 65 and every 1 to 2 years after that.  

Skin Cancer Screening

Continue to check your skin for unusual moles or spots. And request your provider examine your skin at your annual health exam.

Taking Care of YOU at Any Age

Preventative screenings and routine health care are an important part of taking care of yourself throughout your life. Most of all knowing the screenings you should expect is helpful when you talk to your doctor, but it is not a substitute for in-person healthcare. If you have questions about health screenings you need or anything else about your individual health talk to your doctor about what is right for you based on your unique health concerns.

Health--Women's Health: At What Age Do We Need Certain Tests?--The Organized Mom

About the author

Elizabeth Voyles

Elizabeth Voyles (@evoyleswrites) is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in parenting and organization topics. In between writing gigs, Elizabeth loves hanging out with her husband and their two young daughters, binge watching shows on Netflix and reading trashy romance novels.

Leave a Comment