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There are a number of things women need to be aware of and take care of to maintain the best health possible. These include: annual check ups, including a pelvic exam, monthly breast exams, basic reproductive health knowledge and nutrition.
All women from age 18 and beyond should have a yearly pelvic exam. A pap smear, which checks for cervical cancer should be done as well as a full STD screen, should you be sexually active. If you are under the age of 18 and sexually active, you should be having annual pelvic exams done too.
If you have questions about the pelvic exam (what exactly takes place, how to prepare for the exam, what tests you should ask to have done, etc.) an excellent resource is the Women's Health website on About.com. This website offers a variety of information on topics related to gynecological and reproductive health.
Self Breast Exam
It is important to perform a monthly self-breast exam. By performing the exam, you will learn how your breast feel and will be able to detect anything out of the ordinary. It is best to perform a self-breast exam just after your period. You will want to will not only want to feel for any changes in your breasts, you will also want to look for changes as well. This can be done by standing in front of a mirror with your arms above your head.
Now you want repeat steps 1 and 2 with your hands on your hips, then at your sides and then leaning forward slightly.
For information on how to perform a self-breast exam, visit the Women's Health website on About.com or visit the Wellness Center for a brochure. Both offer simple instructions for this important health issue.
For other questions pertaining to women's health issues, please contact the Wellness Center at (408) 554-4409, or Cowell Health Center at (408) 554-4501. The Wellness Center also has a number of excellent brochures on a variety of topics and we would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.