Timeline Of Women’s Health Screenings

When it comes to women’s health, getting regular screenings is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of disease and illness. Here is a timeline of health tests every woman needs throughout her life, starting at age 18.

timeline of womens health screenings

General Health

General health is a broad umbrella that covers anything that doesn’t require a trip to a specialist. It is important to note that this is a very broad timeline and will not apply if concerns or illnesses require more or varied treatment.

Everyone should get a basic physical once a year from the time they turn 18 throughout their life. This is the perfect time to discuss any concerns with your general practitioner. Blood pressure checks are among the tests you need in your 20s and continue every one to two years.

Women between the ages of 40 and 49 will also need to consider blood sugar tests every three years starting at age 45 and cholesterol tests every five years. Reaching age 50 adds thyroid tests to the mix, which will be necessary every five years for the remainder of your life.

Reproductive Health

Trips to a gynecologist may start before age 19, depending on the health needs of the individual. In general, at 18, you will need pap smears, pelvic exams and breast checks annually throughout your life. After three consecutive normal tests, the pap smears will only be necessary once every three years. Women should also conduct monthly breast self-exams to look for lumps that could indicate cancer or other problems.

STI tests can start at age 18, but they aren’t usually part of an annual reproductive health exam unless otherwise requested. You may want to consider a regular screening if you or your partner have multiple sexual partners or feel you may have contracted an STI.

Around age 40, you will begin to receive annual mammograms, though this may happen earlier if you or your doctor finds a lump during a yearly or monthly breast exam. This is among the most important tests women need in the 40s to 60s.

Colorectal Health

Unless other indications need to be addressed, regular exams for colorectal health don’t generally start until you’re in your 50s. The frequency and type of test will depend on what you and your doctor decide to do. Colonoscopies are the most common, and these are carried out every 10 years after the initial exam. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is an alternative to colonoscopies but needs to be completed every five years. There is also an option for a yearly fecal occult blood test if completing one of the two previously mentioned exams isn’t possible.

Eye, Ear and Dental

Eye and dental health have a very specific schedule, but it can be flexible because it requires appointments with specialists who may keep different hours than a GP. Between 18 and 39, experts recommend getting an eye exam once a year, depending on your eye health. After you reach the age of 40, that switches to every two to four years, depending on eye health.

Oral exams should take place once or twice a year throughout your life. Most dental insurance companies pay for one to two exams and cleanings annually. Hearing tests are not generally needed unless otherwise indicated. If you have trouble hearing, discuss this with your provider to determine if an auditory test is necessary.


By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have the majority of the immunizations we need to stay healthy. Some, such as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, are necessary annually. Make sure you discuss these inoculations with your provider, as well as if the COVID-19 vaccine proves to be required annually.

Tetanus-diphtheria booster shots will protect you for five to 10 years. You may need a booster sooner than that 10-year deadline due to an injury or surgery. If not, make sure you get a tetanus booster every 10 years.

Stay Healthy

This might seem like a lot, but in reality, these are short appointments spread out over the year — or multiple years, in some cases. It’s a small price to pay to stay healthy in the long run. Envision Imaging is focused on enhancing your health and well-being through our outstanding expertise and hospitality.

Browse our locations to request your next diagnostic imaging appointment. Our world-class facilities, compassionate care and accurate results ensure a pleasant and reliable experience.

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