Your health is your primary asset and should be a top priority. As a woman, you face unique health challenges and risks that require attention and care. From adolescence to adulthood, your body undergoes significant changes that require regular check-ups, tests and vaccinations to ensure your overall well-being.
This article will help you navigate necessary tests and vaccines at different life stages so that you can make informed decisions about your health.
So, let’s get started?
List of Essential Tests & Vaccines for Every Woman
During adolescence, girls can go through significant physical and emotional changes. This is a crucial time to establish healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Here are some tests and vaccines that every teenage girl should consider:
Pap smear: A Pap smear is a test that checks for abnormal cells in the cervix. It is recommended that girls start getting Pap smears at age 21 or within three years of becoming sexually active.
HPV vaccine: The HPV vaccine can protect against several types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer. It is recommended that both girls and boys get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12, but it can be given up to age 26.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea test: These sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common in teenagers. A simple urine test can detect these infections and be easily treated with antibiotics.
Blood pressure check: High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke. It is essential to check your blood pressure regularly, especially if you have a family history of high blood pressure.
In early adulthood, many women are starting their careers and beginning to build families. Here are some tests and vaccines that are important during this stage of life:
Breast self-exam: It is important to be familiar with how your breasts feel to detect changes. Perform a breast self-exam once a month.
Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue. It is recommended that women get a mammogram every one to two years starting at age 40.
Birth control: There are many options for birth control, including hormonal methods, barrier methods, and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Talk to your healthcare provider about which method is best for you.
STI testing: If you are sexually active, getting tested for STIs regularly is important. Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should be tested.
New Moms (Pregnancy and Postpartum)
Congratulations on your bundle of joy! As a new mom, you have a lot on your plate, but remember to take care of yourself too. Several tests and vaccines are essential for the mother and baby during pregnancy and postpartum.
Here are some tests and vaccines to consider:
Prenatal care: Regular prenatal visits are important for a healthy pregnancy. During these visits, your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure, urine, and weight and monitor the baby's growth.
Breastfeeding support: Breastfeeding can be challenging, but it is crucial for your and your baby's health. Contact your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for support if you are struggling with breastfeeding.
Group B streptococcus (GBS) test: GBS is a bacteria that can be passed from the mother to the baby during childbirth. A simple swab test can detect GBS; antibiotics can be given during labour to prevent the baby from getting infected if necessary.
Flu vaccine: Pregnant women are more susceptible to complications from the flu. The flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy and can help protect both the mother and the baby.
Tdap vaccine: The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). It is recommended that pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.
Moving into your 30s, you may have established a career, a family, and a healthy lifestyle routine. However, this is no time to become complacent about your health. Maintaining a proactive approach to your health during this decade is crucial to prevent chronic illnesses that can occur later in life.
Here are some tests and vaccines that are important during this stage of life:
Cholesterol test: High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. It is recommended that women get a cholesterol test every four to six years starting at age 45.
Colorectal cancer screening: Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in women. Starting at age 45, women should get screened for colorectal cancer, either with a colonoscopy or a stool-based test.
Bone density test: Women are at higher risk for osteoporosis as they age. A bone density test can detect low bone density and help prevent fractures.
Shingles vaccine: Shingles is a painful rash that can occur in people who have had chickenpox. The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over 50.
After menopause, women are at increased risk for certain health conditions. Here are some tests and vaccines that are important during this stage of life:
Breast cancer screening: Women should continue to get mammograms every one to two years after age 50.
Cervical cancer screening: Women should continue to get Pap smears every three years if they have had normal results. Women who have had abnormal results may need more frequent screenings.
Osteoporosis treatment: If a bone density test shows a woman has low bone density, treatment may be necessary to prevent fractures.
Flu and pneumonia vaccines: older adults are more susceptible to complications from the flu and pneumonia. It is important to get vaccinated to protect against these illnesses.
Taking care of your health is essential for leading a happy and fulfilling life. As a woman, there are specific tests and vaccines that you should consider taking at various stages of your life to maintain your health and well-being.
From Pap smears to mammograms to flu vaccines, there are many ways to stay on top of your health. Talk to your healthcare provider about which tests and vaccines are right for you, and schedule regular check-ups to stay healthy. Remember, taking care of yourself is a priority, and you deserve to live a healthy and happy life😄