Explore general health concerns young women must consider in order to establish a healthy foundation for the future.
Many women in their twenties feel they are on top of the world, have their full life ahead of them and may not think much about their future health. But, how you take care of yourself in your twenties can truly affect the rest of your life and how you feel as you get older. If you make health a priority in your twenties, this can help reduce your risks of certain diseases, protects your bones and joints and helps you to enjoy a healthier life as you age.
In your teens and twenties, you are the most fertile. If you do not desire pregnancy at this stage in life, it is vital to use birth control. Common birth control methods include:
- The Pill – most common and 99 percent effective.
- Condom – inexpensive but not recommended as only form of birth control
- Vaginal Ring – used for three weeks at a time.
- Diaphragm – must be fitted for it at doctor's office
- IUD – Good for 10 years and 99% effective. Not recommended for short term.
- Patch – Good for one week at a time.
- Implant – Lasts up to 3 years and near 100% effective.
- Skin Protection – Use a sunscreen in your 20s so you do not look like an older lady sooner than you need to!
- Visit a dermatologist at least every 3 years in your 20s for preventative measures. If you see suspicious moles or other issues, go immediately to get them checked out.
- Perform a monthly mole self exam if possible.
- Stay out of tanning beds!
- Get in the habit of a self breast exam every month. Begin to know your body at a very early age.
- Clinical breast exam – Do this at least every three years starting in your 20s.
- If you are considering pregnancy in your twenties, prenatal vitamins are essential.
- Take care of your body and get it as healthy as possible before pregnancy.
- Make sure you are ready psychologically in your twenties to care for another human being.
- Flu shot – recommended every year by most doctors.
- Tetanus-diptheria-pertussis booster vaccine – This is recommended every 10 years so get one sometime in your 20s.
- HPV vaccine – This is up to age 26. Discuss with your physician.
- Meningococcal vaccine – Many doctors recommend this for college students and military personnel.
Eye & Ear Health
- Get your eyes and ears checked at least once every ten years unless you are having trouble with hearing or your vision.
- If you wear contacts or glasses, a yearly exam is recommended.
- If you are suffering headaches, an eye exam may be one of the first things to consider.
- Diabetes is a disease that can be detected through an eye exam.
- Cholesterol Panel – Check your LDL, HDL and triglycerides once every 5 years at a minimum.
- Blood Pressure – Hopefully your physician will check this yearly but at least have this done every two years.
- A thorough once a year cleaning is recommended. However, every six months is even better
- Good oral health can prevent other types of disesases and sickness that may occur if you do not take care of your teeth.
- Pap Smear – At least every two years in your 20s for preventative measures.
- Pelvic exam – Every year beginning at 21 is recommended.
- STI Tests (Sexually transmitted infection tests) – Although not very romantic, both partners should get tested before having sexual intercourse.
- Exercise – Begin a regular exercise program at a young age to build strong bones and muscles.
- Healthy eating – Don't become one that has to change their eating habits but rather, in your 20's, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. What you eat now affects you as the years go by.
- HIV Screening – Get this done at least once to make sure of your status.
- Full Checkup – Even in your 20s, a full checkup, or well woman exam, once a year is recommended.
As you can see, you are not free of taking care of yourself in your 20s. What you do at an early age will no doubt help you in your life as you age. Most of the health screenings in your 20s will be preventative measures. Take care of yourself and live a long, healthy, vibrant life. Find out who you are and what makes you the best you can be!