While a common belief is that women’s wellness exams are only necessary for those who are sexually active, medical professionals beg to differ.
“I think it’s extremely important for your health to get regular exams and routine care, not just for your current health status, but for things you may want to do in the future,” said Kim French, nurse practitioner at APSU. It is found that most young women are not taking regular tests in order to keep records of their health, and these tests can be the deciding factor when it comes to prevention of disorders such as chlamydia, diabetes and HPV.
“Recent statistics from the Center of Disease Control show that 25 percent of women under the age of 25 may have been infected with chlamydia and show no symptoms,” French said. A simple test or administered vaccine could be the difference between an STD and a healthy lifestyle.
Despite these statistics, in an informal poll, three out of five females on campus did not find regular tests and doctor visits necessary. Patty Orr, director and associate professor of the school of nursing, said this belief is false. Orr said women should receive a wellness exam “at least once a year.” For a younger person without chronic disease, the visit is most about upkeep of health and age-appropriate testing, especially after becoming sexually active, Orr said.
Orr said that, along with diet and exercise, getting tests run and regular pap smears are an absolute must. Tests range from getting an HPV vaccine, having lipid levels and blood pressure checked and checking for any chronic disease that can be hereditary.
Additionally, Orr suggests for college-age females to regulate their sleep patterns and ban electronics from the bedroom. Good sleep boosts immune system strength and allows the body to heal from viruses, which is necessary for good health.
The best advice they can give to us all is to “don’t smoke, get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week — that’s the minimum — and then eating at least five to eight fruits and vegetables a day.” The common goal is awareness, because when one does good for one’s body, it does good back.