Women’s Health

Health Care Services for Every Woman

Women’s health care matters. Whether you hope to one day start a family, or plan on being child-free for life, your reproductive well-being is vital to your overall health.

AltaMed understands this and provides a host of essential services and materials for you, regardless of your age, your stage in life, or your desire to be a parent. These resources are available in-person or online via telehealth appointments.

Reproductive Health Care

Your reproductive system is complex, and its health will impact the rest of your body. Unfortunately, reproductive disorders affect millions of Americans every year. Women bear the greatest burden during pregnancy, so the risk to their reproductive health is higher, particularly when there’s another body growing inside them.

Anyone with female reproductive organs should seriously consider getting cervical cancer screenings sometimes called Pap tests or Pap smears. These tests screen for abnormal cells on the cervix with the potential to lead to cervical cancer. These cell changes are caused by HPV, but the pap test does not detect HPV itself– more on that later.

Pap tests are often part of regular well-woman exams. How often you are tested for cervical cancer depends on your age, medical history, and previous results. Most people can wait until 25 to start getting tested, though you can get a Pap test every three years starting at 21. Once you reach 30, a Pap test and an HPV test should be taken every five years until 64. You may not need one anymore after that.

Testing for Sexual Health

Your body is your own, but sexual health is a vital component of reproductive health. AltaMed is committed to supporting your sexual health in a safe, confidential, and nonjudgmental environment. Your sexual health should not just be important to you, but your potential partners as well.

Some sexually transmitted infections have been shown to affect fertility if left untreated. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the leading causes of preventable infertility. Left alone, these infections can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease which may lead to permanent damage of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues potentially leading to infertility.

Even if you’re pregnant, you can still contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI), so it’s important to get treatment to improve the chances for a safer pregnancy and delivery for both mom and baby. Problems during pregnancy like low birth weight, premature rupture of membranes, or premature labor have been linked to untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Untreated gonorrhea has also been linked to miscarriages. Newborns passing through the birth canal can develop eye infections when exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea, and lung infections if exposed to chlamydia.

The Threat of HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI in the United States, affecting 79 million Americans in their late teens and early 20s. HPV types are numerous, and HPV usually goes away without causing any health problems. When HPV lingers, the results can be genital warts and cancer.

A two-dose vaccine, ideally started at age 11, has become common practice to be given to patients, regardless of their gender. Adults ages 27- 45 who are not vaccinated and who have been sexually active may speak to their provider about receiving the vaccine. The vaccine is so effective that in just 10 years after it was recommended, certain HPV infections fell by 86% in girls ages 14-19, and 71% in women in their early 20s.

Women who are pregnant and have HPV can develop genital warts that will increase in number and size during pregnancy and could complicate a vaginal delivery. In rare instances, the mother’s infection has been linked to noncancerous growths in the newborn’s larynx.

Family Planning

Having a healthy reproductive system is vital no matter where life takes you. If you decide to build a family, the best time to do that is when you and your partner are ready. Planned pregnancies typically result in healthier babies and fewer medical problems for mom.

AltaMed can help with the development of a reproductive plan, offer counseling, provide pregnancy testing, birth control, and referrals to a fertility specialist. We are here for you so you can get ready for the changes that come with giving birth. In addition to in-person visits, AltaMed offers telehealth appointments for services that don’t require physical examinations.

It’s in Your Control

We’re committed to keeping women healthy at every stage of their lives, offering confidential information on birth control, safe sex, cervical cancer screenings, STI, and HIV tests and treatment. Call (888) 499-9303 for more information or to make an appointment.

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Health Care Services for Every Woman