** Previously published on List My Five
A woman’s health should not be ignored. Regardless of her age, weight, or physical shape, specific exams should be performed to maintain good health and help prevent the danger of certain conditions. Along with routine checkups, there are other health screenings that should not be overlooked. Here we’ll discuss 5 essential health exams for women.
Mammogram – For Women Over 40
A mammogram is one of the most important health exams for women, as it can detect things a typical breast exam may not pick up on. During a mammogram, the breast is compressed between two plastic plates and x-ray photos are taken that reflect the tissue inside the breast. It is NOT painful and takes only a few minutes to complete. Find out what to expect when you get a mammogram.
NOTE – If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, your doctor may request that you have a mammogram before the age of 40.
Pap Smear – For Women of All Ages
All women should have a pap smear at least every other year to detect signs of cervical cancer and other abnormalities. During a pap smear, the doctor will use a swab or brush to scrape cells away from the cervix, which are then placed on a slide that is sent to a lab for evaluation.
NOTE – If you have ever had an abnormal pap smear, your doctor may request that you have this health exam yearly instead of every two years.
Colonoscopy – For Women 50 and Older
Mature women of the age of 50 or older will require a colonoscopy to check for polyp growth, or signs of colon cancer. If any member of your family has been diagnosed with colon cancer, your doctor will likely schedule a colonoscopy before the age of 50. This exam is quite invasive. While sedated, your doctor will insert a flexible tube into your rectum which will allow him to see inside your large intestine. Samples are collected, which are then sent to a lab for evaluation.
Dental Exam – Women of All Ages
Dental health is an important part of overall health, and regular dental exams should not be ignored. These exams can detect gum disease, cavities, plague, and other oral problems.
Did you know that other, more serious medical conditions, can also be revealed during a dental exam? Dentists can pick up on symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure, oral cancer, and cardiovascular problems BEFORE any real physical symptoms occur.
Mole Exam – Women of All Ages
As we age, our skin changes. Moles can become larger or oddly shaped, some of which may not be visible to their host. By receiving an annual mole exam (performed by a dermatologist), women can reduce their risk of skin cancer by nearly 100%! That’s an impressive figure. Have a mole exam performed yearly (or at least every other year) to check for abnormalities.
More from Jennifer Wagner:
The Health Benefits of Sex
What to Expect When You Get a Mammogram
Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder in Women