At any age, women should be mindful of their health. We’ve covered heart health concerns for women in different age groups, but now, let’s look at what sexual health concerns and tests women may need depending upon their age.
For this, we asked Srijaya Nalla, MD, to provide insights into the common concerns women may have and the tests they will need. Dr. Nalla specializes in obstetrics and gynecology and sees patients at the Banner Health Clinic specializing in Gynecology in Greeley, CO.
Women in their 20s
Typically, women in their 20s are going through college, starting careers and maybe beginning a family. For women in this age group, Dr. Nalla said there are three key things women should focus on:
- Know your body and your sexuality
- Be aware of sexually transmitted diseases
- Learn about birth control options
Dr. Nalla also reminds that all women are different in terms of sexual pleasure, and at this age, you should keep that in mind. She also says it’s wise to avoid multiple sexual partners and make sure to practice safe sex. This can help you avoid potential sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
Additionally, at this age, women should complete the HPV vaccination series. They should also pay attention to signs of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Common tests for women in their 20s include Pap smears and screenings for STDs until the age of 26.
Women in their 30s
Women in this age group likely have many of the same sexual health concerns as they did when they were in their 20s. However, there could be new concerns that arise.
Dr. Nalla says issues with pregnancy are often a common concern for women in their 30s. Additionally, breastfeeding may be a concern as well. Dr. Nalla says other issues women may not realize include:
- Change in life’s priorities may lead to less focus on sexual health
- Body changes after child birth
- Pain with intercourse (believe it or not, this can be treated)
The best thing to do for any of these is to talk to your doctor.
Dr. Nalla says the most common test women will have during their 30s is a Pap smear.
Women in their 40s
As women reach their 40s, there is a whole new host of problems they may have to face. When it comes to sexual health, there are few issues Dr. Nalla says may arise. The most common include:
- Perimenopause, or the years leading up to menopause
- Hormonal issues
- Low sex drive and vaginal dryness
- Other medical conditions that may affect sexual health
When women reach their 40s, Dr. Nalla recommends women have an open conversation with their partner about their sex life. She also recommends having more date nights to make sure you are staying connected with your partner. Finally, she says it helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle with more activity and exercise.
Women in their 40s should expect to have Pap smears and, possibly, mammograms.
At any stage of life, Dr. Nalla says your doctor is there to help.
“Please bring your sexual health concerns to your provider,” Dr. Nalla said. “Sexual health is also an integral part of your overall health.”
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