For Women: Annual check-ups & why they are important

It’s your time for a check-up.

National Women’s Check-Up Day is held every year during Women’s Health Week to alert women to the importance of scheduled check-ups to promote good health and for early detection of diseases and conditions.

Check-ups are important times to discuss any health issues or concerns with your doctor and to receive appropriate screenings. To find out what screenings you may need and at what age you might need them, use this www.womenshealth.gov interactive screening tool.

Pap smears

Pap  smears help doctors detect any changes in your cervix that could lead to serious health issues, like infections or cervical cancer.

Your doctor will let you know how often you need a pap smear. Most women who have had previous healthy results only need one every 2-3 years.  

Cervical cancer often has no symptoms early on, so a pap smear is an important tool in identifying both the cancer and precancers.

Mammograms

Mammograms — x-rays of the breasts — are recommended for women 40 and older or who have a personal or family history of breast cancer or breast problems. This screening helps detect breast cancer or can alert your doctor to any change in your breast tissue.

Mammograms and breast self exams are the best ways of detecting breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most commong cancers in women and one of the elading causes of cancer death in women. 

STI Testing

Sexually transmitted infections — passed through sexual intercourse — are more frequent and problemsome for women. In untreated, they can cause serious health problems. If you are sexually active, ask your doctor to get tested.

There are many different STIs and different tests for each one. Your doctor can advise which tests are best based on your (and your partner’s) sexual history.

If untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and, in some cases, infertility. The CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active females 25 and under and for women older than 25 with risk factors (new sex partner or multiple partners).

Pregnant women should be screened at their first prenatal visit for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis. STIs in pregnant women can be harmful. They can be passed on to the infant, cause pre-term birth, still birth and other negative outcomes.

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