Essential health checks for women in their 20s

Written by denise schipani
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Essential health checks for women in their 20s
(Getty Thinkstock)

Annual check-up

Though an annual checkup probably isn’t necessary, it’s smart to get used to taking charge of your health. A thorough physical includes a total blood work-up (CBC), which tests for conditions such as anemia. You might also get a cholesterol test, and/or a fasting glucose test (especially if you are overweight) to check for diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Your doc will listen to your heart and lungs; examine your eyes, ears, lymph nodes and abdomen for anything out of the ordinary. He or she will also make note of your age, height and weight, and ask about your family medical history.

Vaccine update

According to National Institutes of Health guidelines, you should get an updated Tdap vaccine (tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis), since immunity from childhood vaccines will likely have waned. If you were born after 1980 and never had chickenpox as a child, get that vaccine as well.

The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) should be updated if you were born after 1956, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. And don’t forget the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine. All cases of cervical cancer have now been shown to originate with an HPV infection, says Dr. Simpler, so if you weren’t vaccinated as a teen, do it now. (Check with your insurance company about coverage; some only pay for the shots if you’re under age 27.)

PAP smear

A PAP smear (in which a scraping of cells from the cervix is examined to detect abnormalities that could lead to cervical cancer) should be performed starting in the 20s (or soon after becoming sexually active), and then once every three years throughout adulthood. This used to be recommended annually but that’s changed if your results remain consistently negative. The upshot: get a PAP now if you haven’t in a while.

STD/HIV screen

All sexually active adults be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and that all patients seen in any healthcare setting receive HIV testing unless the patient opts out.

Breast self-exam

Past emphasis on monthly self-exams at home has faded because such exams were found to be ineffective in finding potential cases of cancer. That said, women in their 20s should, um, get to know the girls as a way to know what feels normal for your body, but not as a replacement for the clinical breast exam your doc will give you at your ob/gyn check-up. Go ahead: Feel yourself up.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.