Article provided by QIAGEN
Exams and tests can be the foundation for good health. Early detection can mean better disease management and treatment outcomes. Some women, however, avoid regular check-ups out of fear or misunderstandings around what doctors are looking for. Here’s a summary of some of the most important tests for women, many of which are performed during the annual “well woman” visit. Familiarize yourself with what goes on at your well-woman exam, and be sure to keep up with these important annual doctors visits.
Screening frequency depends on your medical history and test results
• Pap test for women starting at age 21
• Pap test along with an HPV test for women age 30 and older. A Pap test looks for abnormal cell changes, while the HPV test can detect the virus that causes cervical cancer (human papillomavirus, or HPV) to identify women at risk and enable doctors to put monitoring and follow-up in place before cervical disease or cancer can develop. If you are age 30 and older, be sure to ask your doctor for an HPV test together with your Pap.
General pelvic exam and STD screen
• Feel for unusual lumps or masses; check lymph nodes
• Screen for common STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea
Lifestyle and Diet Discussion
• Discuss diet and exercise
• Ask questions to screen for depression, substance abuse or possible domestic violence
Check for lumps or masses
• Monthly self-exam, best performed starting at age 20, 5-7 days after the end of a menstrual cycle.
• Menopausal women—monthly self-exam at a consistent time each month
• Yearly exam by a health professional
• Mammogram every 1-2 years in your 40s and every year beginning at age 50
Conditions affecting the Reproductive Organs
Check health of the ovaries and uterus
● Pelvic exam yearly by a health professional
Check for high blood pressure
• Checked by a health professional at least yearly
Check for elevated levels that can lead to heart disease and stroke