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Preventive Care for Women of All Ages

Throughout a woman’s life, her health and wellness needs change. An annual well-woman visit with a gynecologist can help women stay healthy and receive fast treatment for medical problems, if they develop. Regular preventive care can also help to identify the potential for disease before it occurs.

No matter their age, when women visit her office, Laura Mueller, MD, MoBap obstetrician gynecologist with BJC Medical Group, focuses on healthy habits that can help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. “We check blood pressure and body mass index to make sure numbers are within healthy ranges, and encourage women to eat a heart-healthy diet and get daily physical activity.”

Whatever their age, by taking an active approach to healthcare and keeping current with preventive care recommendations, women become their own best advocates.

“Make an appointment with a gynecologist – even if you’re healthy,” Dr. Mueller encouraged.  “Establish a relationship so you get to know them, and they get to know you.”

The following checklist presents some preventive care recommendations for each decade.

Late Teens & Twenties

Most women make their first gynecologic appointment in their late teens or early 20s. “We encourage patients to be vaccinated against HPV, which can cause cervical, anal and vaginal cancer, as well as genital warts,” Dr. Mueller said. “Pap smears start when women are 21, and we discuss safe sex, contraception and intimate partner violence.”

  • Schedule first gynecologic appointment
  • HPV vaccination
  • Schedule first pap smear at age 21
  • Safe sex and partner violence education
  • Contraception methods


Many women choose to start families in their 30s. “So we talk to patients about contraception, family planning and preconception counseling, if they plan to have children,” Dr. Mueller said. “Additionally, we review family histories to assess if patients are at increased risk for certain cancers and to determine the need for early screenings.”

  • Contraception methods
  • Family planning counseling
  • Schedule early cancer screenings


Forty is a time of transition toward menopause. “We talk to women about perimenopause symptoms and what to expect,” Dr. Mueller continued. “We also draw blood work for cholesterol, diabetes and thyroid conditions, schedule mammograms and encourage early screenings for patients at risk for disease.”

  • Check bloodwork or cholesterol, diabetes
  • and thyroid conditions
  • Schedule annual mammogram
  • Schedule early cancer screenings


In their 50s, women are managing menopause, while incidences of colorectal and breast cancer rise. “This is the time when we talk to patients about hormone replacement therapy,” Dr. Mueller said, “and encourage breast cancer screenings and scheduling their first colonoscopy.”

  • Schedule annual mammogram
  • Schedule colonoscopy
  • Plan hormone replacement therapy

Sixties & Beyond

Since bone health is an important topic for women in their 60s, “we talk to women about weight bearing exercises, calcium intake, vitamin D supplements and scheduling a bone density scan,” Dr. Mueller said. “We also discuss treatment options for urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and postmenopausal bleeding, conditions more common in women at this age.”

  • Add weight bearing exercises for bone health
  • Increase calcium intake
  • Take vitamin D supplements
  • Schedule bone density scan
  • Treat urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and postmenopausal bleeding, if they occur

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