It can sometimes feel like women get the short end of the stick when it comes to health, and there are so many things that go on with their bodies, from period pains to the menopause, hormones and breast changes. That’s why it’s so important for women to get regular health checks, and here are a few appointments you should never put off.
- Smear test
A cervical screening, or smear test, is something every woman should have between the ages of 25 to 65, and possibly over the age of 65 if you have an abnormal test. Between the ages of 25 and 49, you’ll be invited to a cervical screening every three years, which then reduces to every five years.
Most women know the importance of cervical screening, it helps catch any abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer, which if caught early is very treatable. In some regions, as many as half of all women skip their appointments, citing reasons from embarrassment to not understanding the importance of screening. When you get your appointment card, don’t put it off.
- Eye tests
If your vision is fine and you’re not getting any headaches, it’s so tempting to keep putting off your eye test. However, eye tests are about more than getting the right glasses. As you age, you’re more at risk of conditions such as glaucoma, and women are more susceptible to certain kinds of macular degeneration, which can often be managed much easier if it’s caught early. Book your appointment every two years, or more often if recommended, and treat yourself to some Calvin Klein glasses as a reward for going.
- Breast screening
There has been a decline in the number of women going to breast screening in recent years, with many women putting off having mammograms because they’re uncomfortable or simply afraid something might be found. The NHS offers mammograms for women every three years between the ages of 50 and 70, and they really shouldn’t be missed. While mammograms can be a little unpleasant, no matter which way you try to spin it, they are usually pretty quick and once you’re finished you get the satisfaction of not going back for another three more years.
- STI tests
If you’re a woman who is sexually active, even if you use condoms, you should consider going for regular STI tests. Once a year is usually enough if you don’t have any symptoms, but obviously if you notice anything abnormal, you should get an appointment immediately. Women can often suffer from conditions such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea without having any symptoms, yet they can have long-lasting effects such as damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries.
- Dental check ups
Most dentists recommend a check-up every six months to a year, yet around half of adults in the UK never make an appointment. Failing to see a dentist doesn’t just mean you can end up with yellow teeth, tooth decay can cause many different medical issues from high blood pressure to cancer, and the hormonal changes that women go through in their life make them more likely to have tooth problems. Book your appointment whenever your dentist sends you a reminder.