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Health Screening Guidelines, Women Ages 18 to 39

Screening tests and health counseling are a key part of managing your health. A screening test is done to find disorders or diseases in people who don't have any symptoms. Screening tests are not used to diagnose. They are used to find out if more testing is needed. The goal may be to find a disease early so it can be treated with more success. Or the goal may be to find a disease early so you can make lifestyle changes. You may need regular checkups to help you reduce your risk of disease.

Below are guidelines for women ages 18 to 39. Guidelines for some conditions can vary by expert group depending on age, risk, and other factors. Talk with your healthcare provider. Make sure you’re up-to-date on what you need.

We understand gender is a spectrum. We may use gendered terms to talk about anatomy and health risk. Please use this information in a way that works best for you and your healthcare provider as you talk about your care.

Screening

Who needs it

How often

Alcohol misuse

All adults age 18 and older

At routine exams

Blood pressure

All adults age 18 and older

Once a year if your blood pressure is normal. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is higher than this, follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

Breast cancer

All women in this age group should talk with their healthcare provider about a clinical breast exam (CBE) and when to report changes in how your breasts feel or look. This is called breast self-awareness.

Clinical breast exam every 3 years, or as advised.

Cervical cancer

There are 2 screening tests to look for cervical cancer, a Pap test and an HPV test. Guidelines vary depending on expert group. The American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) advises starting screening at age 21.

Screening varies depending on your age and risk. Talk with your healthcare provider.

ACOG advises women who are 21 to 29 to have a Pap test every 3 years.

Women ages 25 to 29 may have only HPV testing, but ACOG prefers Pap tests. American Cancer Society advises HPV testing starting at age 25, if you are at average risk. Talk with your provider about your risk.

Women ages 30 to 65 have more options. They may have a Pap and HPV test every 5 years. Or they can have only a Pap test every 3 years or only an HPV test every 5 years.

Chlamydia

Women who are sexually active. This includes those who are pregnant or who are:

  • Age 24 or younger

  • Age 25 or older at higher risk for infection

 

At routine yearly exams

If pregnant, during early prenatal care visit. Repeat in third trimester for women at higher risk.

Depression

All women in this age group

Regularly, which may be at routine exams

Diabetes mellitus, type 2

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

At least every 3 years starting at age 35. Testing in pregnancy after the 24th week unless higher risk factors are present. 

Gonorrhea

Women who are sexually active. This includes those who are pregnant or who are:

  • Age 24 or younger

  • Age 25 or older at higher risk for infection

 

At routine yearly exams

Hepatitis C

All adults age 18 and older

At least once

HIV

All women

Talk with your healthcare provider. The CDC recommends testing at least once for all people between age 13 and 64. For others at risk, testing may be advised yearly.

Obesity

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Syphilis

Women who are at higher risk for infection. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Depends on risk and pregnancy status. All pregnant people will be screened during their first prenatal visit. Non-pregnant women will be screened if at increased risk.

Tuberculosis

Women who are at higher risk for infection. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Depends on risk. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Vision

All women in this age group

At least every 2 years for those at low risk. Those at increased risk may be advised to be tested yearly.

Health counseling

Who needs it

How often

BRCA gene mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk

Women at higher risk for a 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

Intimate partner violence

All women in this age group

Regularly, which may be at routine exams or by situation

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention

Women who are sexually active

At routine exams

Skin cancer

Women with pale skin

At routine exams

Use of tobacco and the health effects it can cause

All women in this age group

Regularly at routine visits

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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