by Madison Klavan
- Starting Early in your 20’s: Start Receiving Yearly Well Women’s Exams
You finally hit the BIG 21, what comes to mind? Let me guess, you are able to finally drink… legally now. You are having a blast partying it up with your girlfriends, but 21 also comes with responsibilities. 21 is a milestone in women’s health for a female to receive their first full well women’s exam, which includes the breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap smear laboratory test, regardless of your sexual history. Many believe that since receiving the third HPV vaccine, they are in the clear 110%… BUT that is a MYTH! It might not be the most comfortable process to undergo, but it is better to be safe than sorry. By participating in a well-women’s exam, a female is taking the proper precautions for both cervical and breast cancer, as well as many other illnesses. The earlier an illness is caught, the more likely it is to treat and cure. As the saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm.”
- The Prime Time, your 30’s: Ideal time to have a bun in the oven
You had the dream wedding on the beach, the perfect honeymoon, and just got settled into a home with a white picket fence… can you guess what is next? Popping out mini munchkins, children! The process of pregnancy is complex and requires a lot of preparation. One should consider getting tested for STDs, getting the proper vaccines, and solving any personal health issues before attempting to become pregnant. In addition to making sure you are healthy, it is highly recommended to incorporate prenatal vitamins, a properly balanced diet, and exercise into one’s daily routine. During pregnancy, it is crucial to avoid toxic substances such as illegal drugs and alcohol. Research has shown that the ideal time to have a child for a woman’s body is before the age of 35, because beyond that it is considered a “Geriatric pregnancy,” which presents risks to both the mother and newborn. In addition, starting at the age of 37, fertility in a woman drastically drops, which makes it very difficult to become pregnant. The sooner in your 30’s you become pregnant, the higher the chance that both you and your baby will live happily ever after in your home with the white picket fence.
- Your 40’s is around the corner: Watch Out for Signs of Menopause
You start sweating buckets full and look around to find no one else feeling hot. You randomly start spotting, and you feel a little mentally out of it… sounds like menopause is kicking into gear or getting close to it, a condition known as Perimenopause. Perimenopause is the transition period in which hormone levels of estrogen vary for a few months due to decreased ovarian function and ends a year after a woman’s last menstrual cycle. Most women are shocked when hot flashes show up prior to menopause during perimenopause. In addition to hot flashes, there are several other common symptoms to look for out during perimenopause, such as vaginal dryness, night sweats, mood swings, and much more. The best advice is to avoid triggering these symptoms and to experiment with different treatment options to alleviate any pain. For example, you can try to avoid drinking hot beverages to avoid hot flashes and to try a low-dose contraceptive to help with the irregular bleeding and vaginal dryness.
- When you hit the BIG 50: Managing Menopause
The baby-making is over, and retirement and relaxation are near, but the number of health issues continues to rise, as does your age. The average age of a woman going through Menopause is 47-55 years old, but it is different for every female. Menopause occurs when a woman goes through a natural process that ends her monthly periods, stops the ovaries from the production of eggs and lowers the amount of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormones. After the completion of this process, a female can no longer have a natural pregnancy. During the course of menopause, a woman can face other symptoms such as complications with sex, lower libido, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms arise during menopause due to the fluctuation of hormones in a woman’s body. As the hormones begin to settle down, symptoms will slow down and eventually disappear. Understanding how and why the process of menopause works will allow a woman to better navigate the symptoms and changes she faces during this phase of her life. Visiting an Endocrinologist or OBGYN would be best to help alleviate any problems or concerns, and to better manage symptoms throughout this phase. After the completion of menopause, a woman is known to be in the post-menopausal stage.