A Lifetime of Care

A Lifetime of Care

Comprehensive Women’s Health Services at Main Street Hospital

As a woman, you take care of many people during your life: husband, parents, sons, daughters, grandchildren and other loved ones. But all too often, women are so busy caring for others, they often neglect to take care of themselves. At Main Street Hospital, we encourage every woman to take advantage of the comprehensive range of medical services we provide for all the seasons of your life.

Adolescence (Teens)

Adolescence is a time of great transformation for a young woman, both emotionally and physically. Because of these changes, it’s recommended that teenage girls make their first visit to a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. During this first visit, your doctor will take your medical history, check on your immunizations and vaccinations, and talk to you about what to expect during future visits. A general physical exam and an external genital exam may also be part of this initial visit. A pelvic exam is usually not performed during the first visit unless you are experiencing abnormal bleeding or pain.

Adolescence is also the right time to develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime. For example, getting plenty of calcium (at least 1,300 milligrams a day) and Vitamin D will help build stronger bones and prevent osteoporosis in later years. Using sunscreen can help prevent the risk
of skin cancer, which increases significantly with just
one sunburn.

Young Women (20s and 30s)

Because many women in their 20s and 30s experience few medical problems, they often neglect regular visits to the doctor. That’s a mistake. Now is the time to form a relationship with a physician that you feel comfortable with. Starting at age 21, you should have a Pap test every two or three years to check for abnormal changes that could lead to cervical cancer. If you’re ready to start a family, you should schedule a preconception visit with your ob-gyn. If you’re not ready for children, your doctor can help you determine your best birth-control options. Breast self-exams should start now, with a clinical breast exam by your doctor at least every three years. Bone loss can begin in your 30s, so continue to make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium (1,000 milligrams per day)
and Vitamin D. At age 35, you should also have your thyroid checked.

Midlife Women (40s and 50s)

New health issues begin to arise for women during this time of life. For some women, the transition to menopause, known as perimenopause, can begin during their early 40s. Most women go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age being 51. Menopause is a normal and natural change that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles. During menopause, the body produces smaller amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, lack of energy, insomnia, mood changes and even depression.

Decreasing levels of estrogen can also lead to long-term health problems such as osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about improving the strength of your bones and whether you need a bone density exam.

Breast cancer is now more of a concern. Starting at age 40, be sure to schedule an annual mammogram and have your physician perform a clinical breast exam each year.

The Mature Years (Over 60)

During these years, there’s a new focus on heart health. Heart disease kills more women than all types of cancer combined. To stay heart healthy, you need to know and manage your total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar level and triglycerides. Talk to your doctor about how to stay heart healthy. Learn the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke.

Like millions of other women, urinary incontinence may become an issue. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from seeking help. Lifestyle changes, medical devices or a simple outpatient procedure are very effective treatments.

Memory loss is another new concern. A little memory loss is normal as you grow older. But if your memory problems become troubling, be sure to tell your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can be effective in slowing the progress of memory loss.

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