Your Health

Routine Care and Health Tests for Women by Age

At any age, there are certain tests and exams — both expected and unexpected — that can help the doctor get the best picture of your health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the following health assessments based on age:

For women 19-39 years of age
For women 40-64 years of age
For women 65 years and older
Immunizations for an adult woman

Routine health tests for women 19-39 years of age

The leading causes of death of women in this age range include cancer, accidents, heart disease, suicide, HIV, homicide, cerebral vascular disease (stroke), diabetes, chronic liver disease, and chronic lower respiratory disease.

Lab Tests:

  • Screening for cervical cancer every 2 years (Pap smear when indicated) from age 21 to 30
  • Screening for cervical cancer, age 30 and over; screening with Pap and HPV testing (“co-testing”) should be done every 3 - 5 years
  • Screening for Chlamydia and gonorrhea for sexually active females
  • Screening for HIV

Based on your medical history, if you are considered to be at high risk for certain health conditions the following tests may be recommended:

  • Bone Mineral Density – for women at risk for bone loss due to medications or health condition
  • Colonoscopy – for women at identified/increased risk for colon cancer
  • Genetic testing for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon and melanoma cancers
  • Glucose testing for risks of diabetes
  • Lipid/Cholesterol testing for risk of stroke

Immunizations:

The following vaccines may be recommended:

  • Influenza
  • Varicella (Chicken pox) if not previously vaccinated and there is no history of being exposed
  • Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Tdap or Td) booster every 10 years
  • HPV (human Papilloma virus) series for those under age 27 who have not been vaccinated
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella booster
  • Meningocccal if not immunized previously

Other considerations for discussion with your doctor: Preconception genetic counseling for identified risk

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Routine health tests for women 40-64 years of age

The leading causes of death of women in this age range include: cancer, heart disease, accidents, accidents (unintentional injuries), chronic lower respiratory disease, cerebral vascular disease (stroke), diabetes, chronic liver disease, blood infections, suicide and HIV.

Lab Tests:

  • Screening for cervical cancer - Pap and HPV testing (“co-testing”) should be done every 3 - 5 years
  • Colorectal cancer screening after age 50
  • Fasting glucose every 3 years after age 45
  • HIV testing
  • Lipid/Cholesterol testing for risk of stroke
  • Mammography every 1-2 years beginning at age 40 if low risk
  • Mammography every year beginning at age 50
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone beginning at age 50

Based on your medical history, if you are considered to be at high risk for certain health conditions the following tests may be recommended:

  • Bone Mineral Density – for women at risk for bone loss due to medications or health condition
  • Colonoscopy – for women at risk for colon cancer
  • Genetic testing for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon and melanoma cancers
  • Glucose testing for risks of diabetes

Immunizations:

The following vaccines may be recommended:

  • Influenza
  • Varicella (Chicken pox) if not previously vaccinated and if there is no history of being exposed
  • Herpes Zoster (shingles) aged 60 and older
  • Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis  (Tdap or Td) booster every 10 years
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella booster
  • Meningocccal if not immunized previously

Other considerations for discussion with your doctor: Aspirin for stroke reduction, Hormone replacement therapy, Medications to prevent breast cancer

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Routine health tests for women 65 years and older

The leading causes of death of women in this age range include heart disease, cancer, cerebral vascular disease (stroke), chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, kidney disease, accidents and blood infections.

Lab Tests:

  • Screening for cervical cancer - women with evidence of several negative prior screenings no longer need to be screened for cervical cancer, but most doctors will continue to screen every 3-5 years in this age group, at least until age 70, assuming no other risk factors require more frequent or continued screening
  • Bone Mineral Density, every 2 years
  • Screening for cervical cancer – following 3 normal annual results and no other history of abnormal results may discontinue screening after between ages  65-70
  • Colorectal cancer screening every 10 years
  • Mammography
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone every 5 years
  • Urinalysis

Based on your medical history, if you are considered to be at high risk for certain health conditions the following tests may be recommended:

  • Bone Mineral Density – for women at risk for bone loss due to medications or health condition
  • Colonoscopy – for women at risk for colon cancer
  • Genetic testing for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon and melanoma cancers
  • Glucose testing for risks of diabetes

Immunizations:

The following vaccines may be recommended:

  • Influenza
  • Varicella (Chicken pox) if not previously vaccinated and there is no history of being exposed
  • Herpes Zoster (shingles) aged 60 and older
  • Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Tdap or Td) booster every 10 years
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella booster
  • Meningocccal if not immunized previously
  • Pneumococcal

Other considerations for discussion with your doctor:

Aspirin for stroke reduction, Hormone replacement therapy,

Medications to prevent breast cancer

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Immunizations for an adult woman

While it is very common for children to have routine immunizations – or shots – it’s important to know that adults need them, too, to prevent serious diseases. You should get a tetanus-diphtheria shot every ten years. At age 65 you should get a pneumococcal ("pneumonia") shot and begin having influenza ("flu") shots every year. If you’re not sure when your last shots were, check with your health care provider. For more information, please contact your physician or the National Coalition for Adult Immunization.

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