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Health Library

Prevention Guidelines, Women Ages 18 to 39

Prevention Guidelines, Women Ages 18 to 39

Screening tests and vaccines are an important part of managing your health. A screening test is done to find possible disorders or diseases in people who don't have any symptoms. The goal is to find a disease early so lifestyle changes can be made and you can be watched more closely to reduce the risk of disease, or to detect it early enough to treat it most effectively. Screening tests are not considered diagnostic, but are used to determine if more testing is needed. Health counseling is essential, too. Below are guidelines for these, for women ages 18 to 39. Talk with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re up-to-date on what you need.

Screening

Who needs it

How often

Alcohol misuse

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Blood pressure

All women in this age group

Yearly checkup if your blood pressure is normal

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg

If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, follow the advice of your healthcare provider

Breast cancer

All women in this age group should talk with their healthcare providers about the need for clinical breast exams (CBE)1

Clinical breast exam every 3 years1

Cervical cancer

Women ages 21 and older

Women between ages 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years; women between ages 30 and 65 are advised to have a Pap test plus an HPV test every 5 years

Chlamydia

Sexually active women ages 25 and younger, and women at increased risk for infection (such as having multiple sex partners)

Every year if you're at risk or have symptoms

Depression

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes

All women with no symptoms who are overweight or obese and have 1 or more other risk factors for diabetes

At least every 3 years. Also, testing for diabetes during pregnancy after the 24th week. 

Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes

All women diagnosed with gestational diabetes

Lifelong testing every 3 years

Type 2 diabetes

All women with prediabetes

Every year

Gonorrhea

Sexually active women at increased risk for infection

At routine exams

Hepatitis C

Anyone at increased risk

At routine exams

HIV

All women should be tested at least once for HIV between the ages of 13 and 64

At routine exams. Those with risk factors for HIV should be tested at least annually. 

Obesity

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Syphilis

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

At routine exams

Tuberculosis

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

Ask your healthcare provider

Vision

All women in this age group

At least 1 complete exam in your 20s, and 2 in your 30s

Vaccine2

Who needs it

How often

Chickenpox (varicella)

All women in this age group who have no record of this infection or vaccine

2 doses; the second dose should be given 4 to 8 weeks after the first dose

Hepatitis A

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

2 doses given at least 6 months apart

Hepatitis B

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

3 doses over 6 months; second dose should be given 1 month after the first dose; the third dose should be given at least 2 months after the second dose and at least 4 months after the first dose

Haemophilus influenzae Type B (HIB)

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

1 to 3 doses

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

All women in this age group up to age 26

3 doses; the second dose should be given 1 to 2 months after the first dose and the third dose given 6 months after the first dose

Influenza (flu)

All women in this age group

Once a year

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

All women in this age group who have no record of these infections or vaccines

1 or 2 doses

Meningococcal

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

1 or more doses

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

Women at increased risk for infection should talk with their healthcare provider

PCV13: 1 dose ages 19 to 65 (protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria)

PPSV23: 1 to 2 doses through age 64, or 1 dose at 65 or older (protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria)

 

Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Td/Tdap) booster

All women in this age group

Td every 10 years, or a one-time dose of Tdap instead of a Td booster after age 18, then Td every 10 years

Counseling

Who needs it

How often

BRCA gene mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility

Women with increased risk for having gene mutation

When your risk is known

Breast cancer and chemoprevention

Women at high risk for breast cancer

When your risk is known

Diet and exercise

Women who are overweight or obese

When diagnosed, and then at routine exams

Domestic violence

Women at the age in which they are able to have children

At routine exams

Sexually transmitted infection prevention

Women who are sexually active

At routine exams

Skin cancer

Prevention of skin cancer in fair-skinned adults

At routine exams

Use of tobacco and the health effects it can cause

All women in this age group

Every visit

1 According to the ACS, women ages 20 to 39 years should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of their routine health exam every 3 years. Breast self-exams are an option for women starting in their 20s. But the USPSTF does not recommend CBE.

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