Preventive care is important, regardless of gender. However, women have unique health needs that differ from those of men. The goal of preventive care services is to intervene as early as possible to improve or maintain long-term health. It is one way to address a health issue before it worsens, prevent it from developing into a bigger health issue, and improve treatment outcomes for the patient.
Women can and should take proactive steps to safeguard their health and well-being. Here is a guide on preventive health services for women. We advise you to discuss preventive health with your primary care provider.
Women’s Health Issues, Health, and Well-Being
It is crucial to recognize that men and women have different biological structures and hormonal compositions. These differences give rise to distinct health concerns that have a higher incidence in women, and why tailored preventive care strategies are a more effective approach.
Preventive services for women encompass a range of healthcare interventions aimed at promoting overall well-being, detecting diseases early, and preventing potential health issues.
Women’s health services typically include the following:
A pelvic exam is an integral part of women’s regular exams, during which, the doctor examines the female reproductive organs, such as the vagina, cervix, ovaries, uterus, and pelvis. It can detect infections and abnormal growths such as cysts or early-stage cancer.
Often included in a pelvic exam is a Pap smear, which involves the collection of cells from your cervix. It is sent to a laboratory to check for changes in the cervical cells that indicate cancer. The results can also be used to determine if there is a risk of cancer in the future.
Regular Pap smears have played a significant role in reducing the incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer.
Breast exams are a physical examination of the breasts, including the underarm areas, for any lumps or swelling, as well as changes in skin texture for possible signs of cancer.
Regular breast exams, performed by healthcare professionals help with detecting breast cancer in its early stages, which allows for more treatment options.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Testing
Regular STI testing is recommended for all women, especially those who may have more than one sexual partner. STI testing usually involves testing the throat, urine, or anus for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papilloma virus (HPV), genital herpes, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
According to CDC guidelines, sexually transmitted infections testing is recommended for:
- Women who are sexually active and under 25 years of age, as well as sexually active women age 25 and older who are at increased risk
- Women 3 months after receiving treatment for a sexually transmitted disease to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment
Mammograms are X-rays of the breasts that help detect cancer. A mammogram can detect cancer even before a lump can be felt through physical examination.
According to recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of national experts in disease prevention:
- Women between the ages of 50 and 74 years old, who have an average risk for breast cancer, should undergo a mammogram every two years
- Women between the ages 40 to 49 years old should discuss with their primary care doctor when to begin having mammograms
Women’s Health Services in Dallas, TX
Don’t wait for symptoms to arise – prioritize preventive care services today. Schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified primary care doctors at Prime Internal Medicine Associates.
We offer a wide range of women’s health services, from wellness exams and STI testing, to mammograms, as well as blood panels, vaccinations, mental health counseling, and guidance on nutrition and lifestyle. Because we value your comfort and experience, we are proud to say we are an all-female primary care clinic serving the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area.