Women's Health Handbook Part 1: What to expect in your 20's
It can be like the Tower of Babel. There's a confusion of voices when it comes to your health. That can be confusing so we spoke to the experts, putting together a women's health handbook. Tonight TV20's Corrie Lovette shows us what women can expect healthwise during their twenties from the experts and a woman who's been there.
"Had I blown it off... it probably could have turned into a life or death situation for me," Elizabeth Escalante said.
An annual wellness visit is on every woman's should-do list. But turning that "Should Do" into a "To-Do" can be a challenge. One such trip to the gynecologist changed everything for 31-year-old Elizabeth Escalante.
"I never thought I would hear those words..." Elizabeth Escalante said.
Cervical cancer. That's what doctors found during a routine pap smear when Escalante was just 23. It was the start of a long journey of tests, surgeries, and eventual hysterectomy.
"You have to dig deep, you have to figure out what you're going to do, and sometimes you have to make some very tough decisions," Elizabeth Escalante (Cervical & Uteran Cancer Survivor) said.
Escalante's experience may not be like your own, but the annual tests that began her journey are much the same for any woman in their 20's.
"We perform a pap smear at age 21, we also recommend sexually transmitted disease testing," Sheyna Carroccio (OBGYN Physician) said. Doctors like Sheyna Carroccio, prescribe a yearly wellness visit that includes a pap smear, breast and pelvic exam, along with a survey of your family history, lifestyle habits & fertility planning.
Dr. Carroccio points out many women look to their gynecologist as a primary care physician during their 20's, taking on the role of monitoring height, weight, blood pressure, vaccinations, and overall health.
"20-family planning comes to mind. You need to you know, contraception if you want to be on contraception, protecting your fertility if you want to conceive," Michael Cotter (Gainesville Obstetrics and Gynecology MD) said.
Dr. Michael Cotter says although guidelines for women's health are clear-- how they're applied varies as much as each woman. That's due in large part to differences in when women are hitting life's milestones like child bearing. The number one issue each physician highlighted-- weight.
"Throughout your life, controlling your weight is the best thing you can do for your health. Being active, exercising," Michael Cotter said. Making healthy choices and eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking.
"Those are big issues on getting through the teenage years into the twenties...developing a lifestyle that will help them succeed throughout their 20's into their 30's," Dr. Anthony Agrios (OBGYN Physician) said.
It's really about prioritizing.
"Here's the thing. Nobody likes getting those tests- it's not fun for any of us. It's just one of those things you really have to just suck it up and just really have to do it. You have to make that choice."
A choice that Escalante hopes will inspire other women of all ages.
"If I can get just one person to say you know, I probably should go do this, or I haven't done this in years and maybe I should. If just one person is able to avoid going through what I went through because they were able to follow through on those tests, it was all worth it. Everything I went through; every surgery, every tear, every bit of it was worth it," Elizabeth Escalante said.
Corrie Lovette, TV20 News.
Tomorrow night at six we talk to doctors about women in their thirties. For more information about annual visits and how you can take control of your health visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/ http://www.cancer.org/ and http://www.nfobgyn.com/
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