Health Recommendations

Learn more about the health recommendations for women 18 to 65 and older.

We update this the table below routinely to ensure we bring you the most up to date recommendations from experts in women's health. Please feel free to download a PDF of the Health Recommendations and share it with other women in your life.

Ages 18–39

Ages 40–49

Ages 50–64

Ages 65 and older

Alcohol Use

Excessive alcohol consumption can have social and medical implications. Studies have shown that alcohol use during pregnancy can result in long-term complications for the child.^

A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Moderate drinking for women is defined as having up to 1 drink per day. Heavy drinking for women is defined as 8 or more drinks a week. Binge drinking for women is defined as 4 or more drinks within about 2 hours. Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant should not drink alcoholic beverages.^

Blood pressure test

Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans. ^

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).
Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.
Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.*

Bone mineral density test
(osteoporosis screening)

Osteoporosis or "porous bone" is a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. Osteoporosis leads to an increase risk of bone fractures typically in the wrist, hip, and spine.^

 

 

Discuss with your doctor or nurse if you are at risk of osteoporosis.*

Get this test at least once at age 65 or older. Talk to your doctor or nurse about repeat testing.*

Breast cancer screening
(mammogram)

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.^

 

Discuss with your doctor or nurse.*

Starting at age 50, get screened every 2 years. Age 75 and older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to be screened. *

Breastfeeding Guidelines

Breastfeeding results in improved infant and maternal health outcomes.~

Infants should be breastfed exclusively up to six months. Appropriate foods may be introduced at 6 months and breastfeeding should be continued through 1 year or as mutually desired by mother and infant.~

 

Cervical cancer screening
(Pap test)

The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.^

Get a Pap test every 3 years if you are 21 or older and have a cervix. If you are 30 or older, you can get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.*

Ask your doctor or nurse if you need to get a Pap test.*

Chlamydia test

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States. Although it is easy to cure, chlamydia can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant if left untreated.^

Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant. Age 25 and older, get tested for chlamydia if you are at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant.*

Cholesterol test

Excess cholesterol can build up within the arteries and lead to heart disease.^

Starting at age 20, get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.*

Colorectal cancer screening
(using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)

Detects the presence of precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum. Screening helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure. ^

Starting at age 50 through age 75, get screened for colorectal cancer.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.*

Dental Visits

Regular dental visits aide in the prevention and detection of tooth decay, oral cancers, and other diseases.^

 

Visit your dentist regularly, particularly if you are planning on getting pregnant or are pregnant.**

Diabetes screening

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. ^

Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.*

Eat Well

Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to learn about healthy eating habits, weight loss and maintenance and more. Guidelines for pregnant or breastfeeding women are included.

Gonorrhea test

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease which, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems.

Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant.*

Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk.*

Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act requires most U.S. citizens and legal residents to have health insurance. Speak to your employer, or visit www.healthcare.gov to learn about Marketplace or Medicaid/CHIP coverage.

HIV test

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.^

Get tested for HIV at least once.
Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.
All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.*

Get tested for HIV at least once.
Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.*

HPV Vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. HPV can lead to health problems like genital warts and cancer^

All girls ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger. ^

 

Influenza Vaccine

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. ^

Everyone over six months of age should be vaccinated each year. CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over the other. The proper vaccine will be determined by your healthcare provider based on your age and health status. ^

Intimate Partner Violence

Abuse is never acceptable. Visit www.thehotline.org, call 800-799-SAFE (7233), or speak to a trusted medical provider to learn more about getting help.

Pap Tests

See Cervical Cancer Guidelines above

Physical Activity

Adults who are physically active are healthier and less likely to develop many chronic diseases than adults who are inactive. They also have better fitness, including a healthier body size and composition.#

Perform 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity each week. Also do muscle-strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week Currently inactive adults should work up to the recommended guidelines. #

Women 65 and older should remain physically active. Discuss a plan with your doctor or nurse to integrate aerobic and muscle strengthening activities into your lifestyle.#

Pneumococcal Vaccine

The major types of pneumococcal disease are pneumonia (lung infection), bacteremia (blood infection), and meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord). Less severe clinical diseases include ear and sinus infections. An estimated 5-7% of the population die from it each year.^

Discuss with your doctor or nurse to see if you are at a high risk of pneumococcal disease. ^

All adults 65 and older should receive the vaccine.^

Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the body, often the face or torso. For some people the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. Risk increases with age.

 

All adults 60 years of age or older should get shingles vaccine.^

Syphilis test

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can have very serious complications when left untreated.^

Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant.*

Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.*

* Women’s Health.gov ^ CDC ~American Academy of Pediatrics #National Guidelines on Physical Activity **American Dental Association