Now’s a great time to take pause and make sure you’re up to date on all your wellness visits. Here’s a look at some of the recommended women's health and wellness checks at different ages.
For Women 18+:
- Annual Physical: How long has it been since you’ve made an appointment to see your doctor? An annual wellness appointment allows you to check in on your overall physical and mental health, take a look at your diet, exercise, and self-care routine, and find out about necessary vaccines (which you may be able to get at your Rite Aid pharmacy). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual checkups and regular screenings as a part of a comprehensive preventative care plan to support your overall health and improve your quality of life.
- Breast Exam: Your doctor will often do a breast exam as a part of your annual women’s health check. You may also be advised to perform a monthly breast self-exam. Whether you perform self-exams or not, any changes you notice in your breasts should be reported to your doctor right away. A screening mammogram is generally not recommended for women under 40. If you are at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history of other factors, your doctor may recommend earlier screenings.
- Pap Test: A pap smear is a test for cervical cancer and is recommended at age 21 and every 3 years thereafter. More frequent or additional testing may be needed in certain women.
- Pelvic Exam: The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommend that women over 21 years old receive a pelvic exam every 3 years. This exam screens for gynacelogical conditions such as cervical or endometrial cancers, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and some sexualyl transmitted infections (STIs).
- Flu Shot and Other Immunizations: It’s recommended that almost everyone aged 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. Not just to protect yourself, but to also protect those around you who are at higher risk of getting sick and developing serious complications, such as young children and seniors. Check in with your Rite Aid pharmacist for an immunization evaluation to help determine which vaccines you need. Many can be administered right there in a private setting near the pharmacy.
- Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Starting at age 18, it’s recommended that women get their blood pressure checked every 2 years at a minimum, but ideally on a regular basis. This is a wellness check that can be done at your Rite Aid Pharmacy! We have blood pressure machines available for patients to use at their convenience.
- Cholesterol: Cholesterol should be checked at age 20 for all women with known risk factors for heart disease. Those with no known risk can begin screening at age 45. If your levels are normal, you typically do not need to have the test repeated for 5 years.
- Dental Health: You know what your dentist says, floss once per day and brush your teeth twice per day. Also consider a fluoride rinse to prevent cavities. And of course, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up.
- Infectious Disease: Sexually active women should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea up until age 25, and after age 25 if at high risk. A one-time test for hepatitis C is recommended for all adults ages 18-79. Additional infectious disease tests may be appropriate depending on lifestyle and medical history.
- Skin Exam: Many providers conduct skin checks as part of a regular physical exam. People with a higher risk of skin cancer may have exams more often. It is important to be aware of your normal pattern of moles, freckles, and blemishes and report any changes or suspicious areas to your doctor.
- Eye Exam: Around the age of 40, it’s a good idea to make a visit to the ophthalmologist (if you haven’t already) to review the overall health of your eyes. From age 40-54, an eye exam is recommended every 2-4 years and every 1-3 years if you are aged 55-64. By the time you’re 65+, it’s recommended to make these visits more frequent (every 1-2 years) to test for macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. Of course, if you have certain medical conditions, you may be required to visit your ophthalmologist on a more frequent basis.
- Blood Glucose Test: For those with no diabetes risk factors, screening should begin at age 45. If results are normal, a blood glucose test should be repeated roughly every 3 years to test for diabetes. If you’re at risk for diabetes, your doctor or health care provider may recommend a test earlier.
- Colorectal Cancer: It’s recommended that women ages 45 – 75 receive colorectal cancer screenings. The frequency of testing depends on the test used. One of the most common tests is a colonoscopy screening every 10 years, which looks for any abnormalities and cancer in the colon. Screening before age 45 or more frequent testing may be necessary if you have certain risk factors such as a strong family history of colorectal cancer or a gastrointestinal condition like inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Lung Cancer: Everyone ages 50–80 years with a 20 pack-year smoking history who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should have an annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT).
- Bone Density Screen: At 65+ it’s recommended to get a bone density screen to test for osteoporosis. Because women begin losing bone mass as early as age 30, it’s a good idea to incorporate strength-building exercises into your daily routine. Plus, make sure you’re getting the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D each day. Talk to your health care provider about what activities and diet would work well for you.
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Johns Creek (GA): Ebix, Inc., A.D.A.M.; c1997-2022. Health screenings for women ages 18 to 39; [updated 2021 Sept 3; reviewed 2020 Apr 19; cited 2022 Apr 28]; Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007467.htm
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Johns Creek (GA): Ebix, Inc., A.D.A.M.; c1997-2022. Health screenings for women ages 40 to 64; [updated 2021 Sept 3; reviewed 2020 Apr 19; cited 2022 Apr 28]; Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007462.htm
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Johns Creek (GA): Ebix, Inc., A.D.A.M.; c1997-2022. Health screenings for women age 65 and older; [updated 2021 Aug 17; reviewed 2020 Apr 19; cited 2022 Apr 28]; Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007463.htm