In our chaotic lives as mothers, we often forget to take care of ourselves. All of our energy goes into ensuring our children are healthy and safe. We cook healthy food for them, take them to extracurricular activities, and look for the best schools — the list is endless.
While this is our responsibility as parents, it is easy to lose sight of ourselves as women. We sometimes go for hours without eating or showering. It is important to remember that our children must have healthy mothers for us to give them the best lives possible.
Also, you want to be well to enjoy your life, too.
Practicing self-care by getting a massage or putting on skincare means nothing if your internal health is not monitored and managed.
Here are five health checkups women should have and when you should start booking those appointments.
Pelvic exams check the health of our reproductive organs. It is used to assess the health of your sexual and reproductive health by examining your vulva and internal reproductive organs such as the uterus, vagina, and cervix.
Ideally, you should start getting pelvic exams at the age of 21. There is no set guideline on how often you should have a pelvic exam, but a general rule of thumb is to go once a year. This will allow you and your doctor to note any changes.
Usually done in conjunction with a pelvic exam, a pap smear is when your doctor collects a small sample of cells from your cervix to screen for cervical cancer or any cells that can lead to cancer. This is a fundamental part of your health checkups because early cancer detection increases your chances of successful treatment.
Like with a pelvic exam, you should start having pap smears done at 21 and be examined at least every three years. However, this also depends on your doctor’s recommendations, and they may ask you to come in sooner.
A mammogram is a special x-ray taken of the breast used to examine for any abnormal areas or signs of breast cancer. You should start getting regular breast examinations beginning at age 40.
Early detection is vital as it increases your chances of surviving cancer, so you should have one done every year.
However, if you have genetic mutations or have a family history of breast cancer, you should start getting mammograms as early as age 25.
Diabetes screening should begin at the age of 45. The Latino community has an increased disposition to diabetes, so it is of utmost importance that you monitor your blood glucose.
Although the diabetes screenings start at a later age, women should have their blood glucose checked every year during their yearly, routine checkup, especially if there is a family history of diabetes.
Unfortunately, in the United States, there is not as much emphasis placed on oral health. If you have the luxury of having insurance, you pay a separate premium for medical and dental. This almost makes it seem as if dental health is not as concerning. In reality, however, your oral health is extremely important.
As women, our bodies undergo many changes during pregnancy. As a result, our oral health can be affected as well. For example, sudden hormonal changes can increase the acidity in your mouth, leading to cavities, and the bacteria and plaque that adhere to teeth increase rapidly, leading to swelling and bleeding gums.
Pregnancy increases the risk of various dental conditions. Still, our oral health should be tended to at all times to prevent further conditions down the road, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Amiga, when was the last time you went to the doctor? Take this as a reminder to book your appointment ASAP and start taking care of yourself!