Obstetrics & Gynecology in Ogden and Layton
In your second decade, you should see your primary care provider regularly. At your visits, your doctor or healthcare practitioner will measure your blood pressure and body mass index (BMI), and perform a physical exam. BMI is determined by your height and weight and helps your doctor determine if you are within normal health guidelines. Together you will explore your personal and family health history, identifying risks you may have inherited or attained from social experiences. Your provider will inquire about lifestyle risks such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, while also being thorough and compassionate by asking questions about suicide risk, abuse history, and depression.
Screening for cervical cancer is done during a pelvic exam with a pap smear; this is recommended every two years beginning at age 21. However, an exam should still be done annually to assess for other risk factors. Testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is recommended through age 25 and for women of any age with risk factors. Talk with your doctor about STD testing and about the vaccine that protects against common strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the source of most cervical cancer.
Many women in their twenties are beginning, or considering, childbearing. A pre-conception exam can identify issues, such as genetic history, that might become important in pregnancy. If your exam uncovers risks, your provider may recommend more tests, and refer you to a perinatologist— a high-risk obstetrician.
As she or he did during your twenties, your provider will perform a general physical exam including a pelvic and breast exam, screening for high blood pressure, obesity, and other health risks. Cervical cancer screening is still important for women in their thirties. HPV testing is included in pap smears as a tool to guide your doctor. At each visit, he or she will review your personal health history, and discuss additional screening tests that match your unique needs. Your emotional and behavioral health is critical to your overall health. To help assess your well-being, your provider will ask about your mood, sleep pattern, energy level, stress, and relationships, potentially unearthing mental health problems like depression.
Women's Health Screenings and Testing
Your family and social history will be reviewed at each medical exam, and may call for additional screenings such as:
- Fasting blood glucose
- Bone mineral density
- STD testing
- Skin examination
- Genetic testing
All women should be up to date on their Tdap, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whopping cough) vaccine. If your last inoculation occurred more than 10 years ago, or you are unsure if your last tetanus contained pertussis, then Tdap should be given as soon as possible. The state of Utah has seen an increase in cases of whopping cough in this past year. It is especially important to be up to date if you have close contact with infants, the elderly or are planning a future pregnancy.
The Influenza vaccine is recommended for women of all ages and is especially valuable if you: • Have close contact with the elderly or children • Live with a condition that compromises breathing • Will be pregnant during the flu season
Talk with your provider about whether or not you fit the profile for the chicken pox vaccine and hepatitis inoculations.
Regular preventive care becomes even more important during your 40s; hence, there are new screening tests your primary care provider will recommend. Women should have a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age 40. In women with a family or personal history of breast disease, mammogram screenings may start earlier. Cervical cancer screening guidelines in your 40s are the same as they were in your 30s. An annual pelvic exam is essential for diagnosing endometrial, ovarian and other cancers. Because heart disease is the leading killer of women, your doctor will screen for cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Screenings such as bone density testing and colonoscopy are appropriate when family history or other risk factors suggest them.
In your 50’s, your mammogram and clinical breast exam are now an annual ritual. You should continue pap and HPV testing every three years—assuming your pap history is negative. Your first colonoscopy should occur at age 50, but can happen sooner if you have a family history of colon cancer. This test lets doctors identify and address abnormal tissue in your large intestine. Most women will repeat the colonoscopy every ten years, unless abnormal findings indicate repeating it sooner.
Women in their 50s should also have: • Blood sugar testing every three years to evaluate for diabetes • Blood cholesterol testing every five years to screen for heart disease • Thyroid level testing every five years to check for thyroid abnormalities If you have more risk factors, your doctor will order these tests more often. In your fifth decade, your provider will continue to update your history, asking questions about your nutrition, mood, physical activity, bowel, bladder, and menopausal symptoms. Based on individual risks, there are several other screening recommendations. Common tests include bone mineral density and STD testing.
Nutrition and Exercise
Your twenties is a very active decade, and we often forget the importance of a well-balanced diet. Between work and school, meals on the go are often a reality, and women can miss out on many important nutrients. Fast food meals often lack calcium, fiber, and vitamins, yet one meal may contain your daily dose of fat, calories, and sodium.
Bone health is extremely important, and getting enough calcium will lay the foundation for future fracture prevention. Along with the recommended 1,000 -1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily, make sure you get at least 800 mg of vitamin D. Folic acid supplementation is also an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for all women of child-bearing age. A daily dose of at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate during early pregnancy has been shown to drastically reduce neural tube defects such as spina bifida. However, some women require more, depending on their genetic history and the medications they take; it is important to discuss this with your physician prior to conception. Strive for a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Exercise is crucial for staying healthy now and reducing health risks in future decades. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and your 20s are an important time to establish heart healthy habits. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. However, even small doses of exercise, 10-15 minutes at a time, over the course of a day can add up to heart health.
As with all age groups, good nutrition and adequate exercise are central aspects of overall health for women over 30. Your healthcare provider will ask you about your eating habits, and what types of foods you eat. It is important to eat a balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains. Eating a balanced diet will ensure that you get the adequate amount of dietary fiber, calcium, and folic acid in your diet.
Calcium intake is another essential part of your diet. Between the ages of 25 and 35 a woman’s bone mass will reach maximum density. After that, density slowly decreases, and then decreases more rapidly in the first five years after menopause. A diet rich in calcium, getting it from food or supplements, is important for increasing bone strength and maintaining density in your 30s. Dairy products are rich in calcium, but many women need supplements, too. Women in their 30s should consume 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium with 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D.
Folic acid is a B vitamin essential to the prevention of birth defects. Folic acid is found in some foods, but most women will need supplementation to ensure they get the right amount. Women of childbearing age should have between 400 and 800 micrograms (mcg)of folic acid daily, even if they are not planning on becoming pregnant. That way, if they do become pregnant, the baby will have less risk of birth defects.
Exercise is fundamental part to maintaining your healthy lifestyle. You should have at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. In addition, you should participate in muscle strengthening exercises, of all major muscle groups, at least two days per week.
Aerobic activity is anything that involves getting your heart rate up for 10 minutes or more. Maybe two and a half hours a week sounds like a lot, but you can break the time down into ten minute increments to make it a little easier. Try a brisk ten-minute walk during lunch, or walking up and down the stairs for 10 minutes at home.
Healthy eating habits during the 40s becomes even more important as the metabolism begins to slow. Calcium requirements increase in perimenopause and after menopause to 1,200 to 1,500 mg daily, along with vitamin D. Daily folic acid remains essential for all women of reproductive age. Getting enough exercise will provide consistent benefits, especially as bone loss becomes an issue. Weight-bearing exercises can help maintain bone strength, and prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Diet and exercise strategies are your first-line in preventing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and related conditions. Aerobic exercise requirements remain unchanged from the 20s and 30s.
When women go into menopause— the absence of a menstrual cycle for one year—bone density decreases rapidly. You must get enough calcium (1,200 mg calcium with 800 IU vitamin D) and participate in weightbearing exercises. Eating three servings of dairy products each day can also increase your calcium intake. Make sure you are getting enough fiber from the many fruit, vegetable and whole-grain sources.
Exercise continues to be important with the same adult requirement of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in women at this age, and a balanced diet high in fiber and adequate exercise will decrease your risk of heart disease significantly. So if loved ones accuse you of being too sensitive about your decade, make sure they applaud your sensitivity about the exercise, nutrition, exams, screenings, vaccines and tests you need to keep you healthy.
Schedule your medical exam or women's health check-up with Wasatch OB/GYN in Layton, Ogden, or North Ogden. See Locations for phone numbers, hours, and maps.