Your 20s and 30s is often the time when you start thinking about your health. Whether that be because you have concerning symptoms, your family have warned you about genetic health history or you’re considering starting a family. Whatever the reason, we support your new-found want to prioritise your health.
Developing Healthy Habits
Establishing healthy habits in your 20s and 30s can help protect and promote your wellbeing as you age. Although your 40s and 50s may seem like a lifetime away, the choices you make now can lower your risk of ill health including chronic conditions in middle age and beyond.
Here’s an overview of some key healthy habits to cultivate in your 20s and 30s:
- Maintain a healthy weight, and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels low
- Find a form of exercise that you love to do
- Protect your skin from sun damage
- Ditch hazardous habits – you’ll know what yours are. Certainly smoking, excessive drinking, recreational and other drug use, or unsafe sex are on the majority of lists. But ask yourself what else you might change to improve your physical or emotional wellbeing.
- Nurture your mental health - developing a good work-life balance, practicing daily mediation or even writing in a journal can all have a positive impact on your mental health.
Key Screening Tests
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, often has no outward symptoms, but can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and heart failure. You should have your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor.
Although breast cancer is more prevalent in later years, it's still important to know the symptoms and when to go and see your doctor. Get in the habit of self-examining your breasts every month.
If you notice changes in your breasts such as:
- A lump or thickening of the breast
- Changes in the size or shape
- Changes in the nipple (discharge, sores, crusting or an inverted nipple)
- Dimpling or indentation to the skin of the breast
- Swelling or discomfort in the armpit
- Breast pain that isn’t related to your menstrual cycle
Book an appointment with your GP for an examination.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) screening
If you are sexually active you should be having an annual STI screening. It’s important to remember that the majority of STI’s don’t have any obvious symptoms but they can cause serious health concerns including infertility.
Cervical Screening Test
In December 2017, the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap Smear. The Pap Smear used to look for abnormal cells in the cervix by collecting, staining and examining cells, while the Cervical Screening test looks for the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in the cervix.
Due to the national vaccine program the occurrence of HPV in young women has now reduced, resulting in the new screening age to start at 25 with a retest every 5 years. If you test positive for HPV it may result in more frequent testing by your GP.
If you are experiencing any of the below , we recommend making an appointment with your GP as soon as possible:
- Heavy periods that are longer or heavier than usual
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after intercourse or pelvic examinations
- Pain during intercourse
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Persistent low back pain and/or pelvic pain
Skin cancer is the most preventable of all common cancers. The best thing you can do for your skin is protect it, you should be wearing sunscreen and protective clothing daily.
If you do notice any unusual changes to your skin, new moles or changes to existing ones, you should get these checked out by your doctor as soon as possible. In any case you should be giving yourself a self-examination every three months and a regular (annual) skin check, as your doctor may notice something that you didn't.
Family Planning and Pregnancy
If you're planning on having a baby, a pre-pregnancy check is recommended to manage your health. It’s a great opportunity to discuss any health concerns and manage medical conditions that may affect conceiving or your pregnancy.
Around three months before you plan to conceive you should review your health and implement lifestyle changes for you and your partner that may help boost fertility and support a healthy pregnancy.
If you’re not ready for parenthood, your GP can also advise you on choosing contraceptive methods to limit the risk of unplanned pregnancies and STI’s.
Take Care of your Mental Health
Make sure you look after your brain as well as your body. If you're just not feeling right, a visit to the doctor is a good idea. Your GP is a safe place for you to discuss how you’re feeling. They will listen to you, ask you some questions and recommend a referral to the right person for some help.
It’s important to remember that you’re never alone and talking to your GP can help create a support network of health professionals.
Health Risk Assessment
Find out your family history. If your family has a history of cancers, heart disease, or other health conditions talk to your GP about managing these conditions to ensure you are receiving the right treatment or preventative care.
If you’re not sure where to start, scheduling an appointment with your General Practitioner is the first step. This is a chance to discuss any current physical or mental health concerns, your own and your family’s medical history.
Our Rosebud Women’s Health Clinic offers a dedicated women’s health service that’s widely appreciated by our patients.
This clinic is appropriate for women of any age and for those who already have a regular doctor but would prefer to manage their women’s health issues in a more individual way.
Whether you choose our Rosebud Women’s Health Clinic or your preferred GP at one of our other practices, we have a number of dedicated doctors ready to see you.
Book an appointment here.