Women’s Health Topics by Age

Health tips for every stage of your life

Click below on the age range that applies to you or a loved one. You will discover a table of health screenings and prevention steps recommended for girls or women in that phase of life.

Ages 13-18
Ages 19-39


It's easy to get distracted from a healthy lifestyle as work and family responsibilities become more time consuming. If you have gained weight or if your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar is high, work with your doctor to develop a plan of action. And be sure to pay close attention to the following:

  • If you are thinking about pregnancy, talk to your doctor to learn the best way to manage any likely problems, such as gestational diabetes. Your risk of birth defects increases with a pregnancy after age 35. You should see your doctor for prenatal care as soon as you know or think you are pregnant, even if you are not a first-time mom.
  • It's also important to keep aware of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, which can affect not only your fertility but also your and your partner's health.
  • If you smoke, this is the time to quit. Smoking can lead to lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend aspirin for stroke prevention in women younger than 55 years or for preventing heart attacks (myocardial infarction).

    The following screening and preventive steps should be followed in consultation with your health care professional:


Test 1/Vaccine 2
 

How Often
 
Blood Pressure Every two years — 18 years of age and older
Body Mass Index (BMI) Periodically — 18 years of age and older
Cervical Every 3 years — Pap smear for women 21-65 years of age. Women 30-65 years of age may have a Pap smear AND human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years. Talk with your doctor to discuss the method of screening that is right for you.

Chlamydia

Routinely — 24 years of age and younger and sexually active
Depression Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Alcohol misuse Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Tobacco use Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap One dose of Td every 10 years; substitute a single dose of Td with Tdap vaccine — 19 years of age and older
Influenza Every flu season
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening Once — talk with your doctor about when to repeat screenings
Intimate partner violence screening Routinely — women of child-bearing age

Perinatal Screening Tests*
 

Recommendation
 
Bacteriuria Urine culture – 12-16 weeks' gestation or first prenatal visit, whichever is first
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) First prenatal visit
Rh (D) antibody   First prenatal visit – repeat at 24-28 weeks' gestation for all unsensitized Rh (D)-negative women, unless the biological father is known to be Rh (D)-negative

HIV

During pregnancy
Syphilis During pregnancy
Iron deficiency anemia During pregnancy
Breastfeeding During and after pregnancy – promote and support breastfeeding
Tobacco use During pregnancy – provide augmented pregnancy-tailored counseling for those who smoke
Ophthalmology exam Women with type 1 or type 2 – baseline exam in the first trimester and then monitoring every trimester as indicated by degree of retinopathy 3
Gestational diabetes mellitus During pregnancy – after 24 weeks 3

Perinatal Vaccines *
 

Recommendation
 
Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) One dose during each pregnancy
Ages 40-64


Maintaining healthy eating habits and a regular exercise regimen is very important as your reproductive life shifts from a focus on the ability to become pregnant to menopause. Other conditions — diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, breast cancer and heart disease — are concerns for women in your age group as weight gain becomes more difficult to control. Other factors to keep in mind:

  • If you smoke, this is the time to quit. Smoking can lead to lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
  • Ask your health care professional if you should be taking a multivitamin for extra folic acid and iron. Folic acid has been linked to lower birth defects, an increased risk for women who become pregnant in their 40s. You should see your doctor for prenatal care as soon as you know or think you are pregnant, even if you are not a first-time mom.
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend aspirin for stroke prevention in women younger than 55 years or for preventing heart attacks (myocardial infarction).


The following screening and preventive steps should be followed in consultation with your health care professional:
 


Test 1/Vaccine 2
 

How Often
 
Blood Pressure Every two years — 18 years of age and older
Body Mass Index (BMI) Periodically — 18 years of age and older
Mammogram Every 1 to 2 years — women 40 years of age and older 4
Cervical Every 3 years — Pap smear for women 21-65 years of age. Women 30-65 years of age may have a Pap smear AND human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years. Talk with your doctor to discuss the method of screening that is right for you.

Colorectal

 

Beginning at 50 years of age to 75 years of age — yearly screening with high-sensitivity stool test for blood, OR sigmoidoscopy every 5 years with high-sensitivity stool test for blood every 3 years, OR colonoscopy every 10 years.
Depression Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Alcohol misuse Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Tobacco use Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap One dose of Td every 10 years; substitute a single dose of Td with Tdap vaccine — 19 years of age and older
Influenza Every flu season
Zoster One dose — 60 years of age and older
Hepatitis C Once — adults born between 1945 and 1965. People at high resk for infection should also be screened.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening Once — talk with your doctor about when to repeat screenings
Intimate partner violence screening Routinely — women of child-bearing age

Perinatal Screening Tests*
 

Recommendation
 
Bacteriuria Urine culture – 12-16 weeks' gestation or first prenatal visit, whichever is first
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) First prenatal visit
Rh (D) antibody   First prenatal visit – repeat at 24-28 weeks' gestation for all unsensitized Rh (D)-negative women, unless the biological father is known to be Rh (D)-negative
HIV During pregnancy
Syphilis During pregnancy
Iron deficiency anemia During pregnancy
Breastfeeding During and after pregnancy – promote and support breastfeeding
Tobacco use During pregnancy – provide augmented pregnancy-tailored counseling for those who smoke
Ophthalmology exam Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes – baseline exam in the first trimester and then monitoring every trimester as indicated by degree of retinopathy
Gestational diabetes mellitus During pregnancy – after 24 weeks

Perinatal Vaccines*
 

Recommendation
 
Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) One dose during each pregnancy
Age 65+


This "settling down" age is a great time to continue your healthy habits. If you adopt a routine of eating well and staying fit, you can reduce the chances that disease will threaten your health during this time.

  • Maintaining mobility is even more important now, so establish a moderate exercise routine, with your health care professional's approval.
  • Sleep patterns change as we age. However, disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day is not part of normal aging and may be a sign of emotional or physical disorders.
  • If you smoke, this is the time to quit. Smoking can lead to lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
  • Monitoring your heart health is vital at this time. Each year, about 314,000 women age 65 and older have a heart attack, and the average age for women to have a first heart attack is about 70.
  • Although your eating habits have likely changed, your body still has basic nutritional needs. Ask your doctor about what makes up a healthy diet for you.
  • Aspirin is recommended for women ages 55 to 79 when the potential to prevent an ischemic stroke outweighs the potential increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. There is insufficient evidence at this time regarding the risks and benefits of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease in men and women 80 years and older.


The following screening and preventive steps should be followed in consultation with your health care professional:
 


Test 1/Vaccine 2
 

How Often
 
Blood Pressure Every two years — 18 years of age and older
Body Mass Index (BMI) Periodically — 18 years of age and older
Mammogram Every 1 to 2 years — women 40 years of age and older 4
Colorectal
Beginning at 50 years of age to 75 years of age — yearly screening with high-sensitivity stool test for blood, OR sigmoidoscopy every 5 years with high- sensitivity stool test for blood every 3 years, OR colonoscopy every 10 years. Talk with your doctor about what type of screening is right for you and any benefits of screening over 75 years of age.
Osteoporosis (bone density test) Routinely — women age 65 and older
Depression Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Alcohol misuse Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Tobacco use Routinely — 18 years of age and older
Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap One dose of Td every 10 years; substitute a single dose of Td with Tdap vaccine — 19 years of age and older
Influenza Every flu season
Zoster One dose — 60 years of age and older
Pneumococcal One dose — 65 years of age and older
Hepatitis C Once – adults born between 1945 and 1965. People at high risk for infection should also be screened. 

Women and heart disease

For years, heart disease was considered a man's disease. But postmenopausal women are just as likely to develop heart disease as men. When heart attack or stroke does occur, they are more likely to be fatal in women. Unfortunately, many women remain unaware of the extent of their risk. A 2012 survey by the American Heart Association found that 44% of women were unaware that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women.

Read more about women's heart health

The preventive health screenings are based on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/recommendations, accessed February 11, 2015.
The vaccine recommendations are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/, accessed February 11, 2015.
American Diabetes Association, Standards of medical care in diabetes-2015, Diabetes Care 2015;38 (supplement 1), S1-S94.
Based on the breast cancer screening recommendations of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), at www.cancer.gov/types/breast/mammograms-fact-sheet accessed March 25, 2014.

*This information is a summary of perinatal services recommendations from the USPSTF and the CDC for healthy pregnant women with normal risk. Talk with your doctor to find out what services are right for you and when you should have them. Your doctor may have additional recommendations.

 

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