Women's health is an important topic and is one that we've covered in-depth in past posts. But it's also a subject that's constantly changing as our understanding of women's healthcare evolves. To keep you up to date on this ever-evolving field, here are some screenings and tests women should get in their 30s—and beyond:
Pap tests are used to detect cervical cell changes that could lead to cancer. Women should get a pap test every three years, starting at age 21 or within three years of becoming sexually active.
The test is usually done in your doctor's office or on a walk-in basis at a laboratory. If you are in Victoria State, a women's health clinic in Melbourne like Camberwell Medical Group is the great one to go to. However, you may need to make an appointment if your doctor wants to discuss the results in person before giving you one.
The procedure takes about five minutes and involves inserting a speculum into your vagina so the doctor can see inside it (this can be uncomfortable). The doctor will then take a sample from your cervix with an instrument called a spatula or brush; They will also use another instrument called an endocervical swab to collect cells from inside your cervix. If any abnormal cells are found, they'll be tested for signs that they have become cancerous—and if there's no sign of cancerous activity yet but there are abnormal cells present, further testing may be recommended based on the specific type and severity of abnormality detected by your exam
HIV is a virus that can attack your immune system. It's most commonly transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal fluids. HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact or from saliva (deep kissing).
This means that you can't contract HIV from sharing toothbrushes or eating utensils with someone who has the virus. You also won't get it from hugging or holding hands with an infected person, even if they're bleeding.
The only way to contract HIV is through sexual intercourse without protection, sharing needles/syringes when taking drugs intravenously, or childbirth/breastfeeding without medical intervention to prevent transmission to the baby.
Although there is no cure for HIV at this time, it can be treated with medication so that people live long healthy lives after diagnosis if they are able to adhere to their treatment regimens and maintain undetectable viral loads in their bloodstream over time.
Cholesterol circulates in your blood. It's present in all cells of your body, but it can also come from the foods you eat.
Good cholesterol (HDL) helps remove bad cholesterol from your blood and protect the inner walls of your arteries. Bad cholesterol (LDL) builds up on these walls, which can narrow them and restrict blood flow to the heart and brain. High levels of total cholesterol or high levels of LDL put you at risk for heart disease as you age, so it's important that women get their cholesterol checked regularly as they enter their 30s.
A bone density test, also known as a DEXA scan and DXA scan, is a quick and painless procedure that measures bone mineral content. It uses low doses of X-rays to create a picture of your bones on a computer screen to determine whether you have enough calcium in your body—a key indicator of osteoporosis risk. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis (such as being over 50 years old) or already show signs of it (your doctor may find this through an X-ray), getting this test will help you get ahead of the game by discovering any fractures before they happen.
You should get one every two years starting around age 30 and continuing into middle age and beyond if needed; talk with your doctor about when it's time to schedule one after that point based on what kind of results they see from previous screenings.
Blood sugar, or glucose, is a type of sugar found in the blood. Glucose comes from two sources: your body’s metabolism of carbohydrates and sugars (including those found naturally in foods), and the digestion of protein. Your body uses glucose as its main source of fuel to give energy to muscles and organs—the brain being one of them.
If you have diabetes, though, your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body doesn't respond well enough to it so that it can use all that glucose as fuel. Instead, it builds up in your bloodstream and can cause many health problems throughout the rest of your body if not treated properly.
Cancer screenings (breast and cervical)
Cancer screenings are an important part of your annual checkup, and they're particularly important if you haven't had any cancer-related issues in the past. Your doctor will recommend what type of screening you need based on your age, risk factors, and overall health.
If you're 30 years old or older, it's recommended that women get a mammogram every year as well as a pap test (to check for cervical cancer) every three years. Women should start having these tests at age 21 and continue until they reach 65.
The 30s are a great time to start thinking about your health. If you’re not in your 30s, don’t worry—you can still get these screenings and tests. But if you are in your 30s, it’s crucial that you take care of yourself now so that you can enjoy life later on without worrying about getting sick or having any major medical problems.