Everyone has to carry out regular health checks of some sort or another. We need to attend dental appointments. We need to check in with an optician. We need to head to the doctor if we are feeling unwell. But there are various health checks that tend to be more specific to women. It’s important that you carry these out! Here are a few to work into your routine.
If you’re aged 25 or over, you should book in for cervical screening. This process is also commonly referred to as a “smear test” or a “pap smear”. It is a simple exam takes a look at cellular material in your cervix (this is the entrance to your womb from your vagina) and helps to identify any irregularities that may be occuring there. This can highlight cancerous cells or cancer itself. So, it’s best to make sure that you book in regularly and that you attend your appointments as you should. After your first smear test:
- Women aged 25 to 44 will be invited back for another once every three years.
- Women aged 45 to 60 will be invited back once every five years (as long as they have had two “no abnormality detected” results in a row).
The process isn’t painful. While it may be a little uncomfortable, it is fast and will generally be over within a matter of minutes.
TVUS and CA-125 Tests
We don’t tend to want to think about ovarian cancer, but it is a condition that relatively few of us know how to detect. So, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the early warning signs of this condition. Some common Ovarian Cancer Symptoms include:
- Bloating – while bloating is common in general day to day life, consistent bloating that doesn’t go away should raise concern.
- Fullness – feel full quickly or constantly should also raise alarm bells. If you consistently feel as though you have just eaten a large meal.
- Constipation – constipation can be linked to stress, anxiety, lack of fibre, and a whole host of other issues. But it could also be a possible ovarian cancer symptom.
If you feel concerned that you may be displaying signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, you should contact your doctor and request TVUS and CA-125 tests. A TVUS is a transvaginal ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create an image of your internal parts. A CA-125 test measures the amount of CA-125 protein in your blood. This tends to be elevated if there are problems present.
Checking Your Breasts
You should conduct regular checks on your own breasts. This will take hardly any time, but can also provide you with the opportunity to identify any changes or abnormalities over time. You can find a complete guide on how to do this properly here. If you do notice any changes, lumps, or bumps, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
These are just a few different checks that you should be engaging with as a woman. Make sure to keep up with them and to seek the appropriate support and professional help that you may require if you do have to take further steps in regards to treatment and healthcare!