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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See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

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Our Unwavering Commitment to Women’s Health Care

After the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established the constitutional right to have an abortion, reproductive freedoms in the United States are now under attack. Since the reversal on June 24, 17 states have banned abortion entirely, while a further seven intend to enact a ban. In Texas, a trigger law will allow abortion providers to be sued for “no less” than $100,000.

In California, along with 21 other often liberal-leaning states, abortion rights remain protected for now. As a response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order prohibiting patient data from being shared with out-of-state entities seeking to prevent or punish abortions. In November, California voters will have the chance to add abortion as a state constitutional right, ensuring the procedure remains legal. That’s just one reason why it’s so important to vote this year.

AltaMed believes all women deserve the right to safe and equitable health care of their choosing. We remain committed to delivering the very best access to reproductive resources and information. Here’s what’s available for you.

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Family Planning

Family planning services are essential to the health of women, and their children. AltaMed offers birth control, pregnancy testing, and referrals to a fertility specialist, so you can determine if and when you want to start a family. Contraceptive services extend to teens and young adults, and are always confidential.

If you do choose to become a parent, we’re here for you with prenatal care and pediatric services. For over 50 years, we’ve helped families grow healthy.

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Health Education

When it comes to women’s health, access to easy information makes a huge difference. Knowing where to begin can be challenging. AltaMed offers resources on a variety of important health topics, so you can stay informed about your unique health needs.

Learn about:

We also offer community health classes. These lessons cover general health topics including stress management, healthy living for seniors, and more.

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Essential Screenings

As we age, our health needs change and become more complex. Staying current with recommended screenings is an important part of your overall well-being.

Health experts recommend scheduling routine well-woman exams as you reach certain milestones:

  • Age 13-15: Girls have their first Gynecologist appointment
  • Age 21: Women should begin getting Pap tests no less than every three years
  • Age 30: Women should receive HPV-testing Pap Smears once every five years
  • Age 50: Women should have a mammogram every two years (Age 40 for those with a family history of breast cancer)

Early detection of serious diseases is vital. An estimated 12% of women, for example, will develop breast cancer in their lives. Luckily, the 5-year survival rate is 99% when detected early. If you or a loved one has been delaying routine checkups because of the pandemic, now is the time to makean appointment.

Our Commitment to You

Despite a time of serious upheaval around our country, AltaMed remains committed to empowering women on their terms. No matter your health needs, you can find easy, culturally sensitive care close to home. Interested in becoming a patient? Call (888) 499-9303 or click here to get started.

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The Essential Health Screenings that Women Need

Over the last few years, we've focused so much of our attention on protecting our families and ourselves from COVID-19 that we may have neglected the vital screenings necessary to protect us from these other potentially deadly diseases.

Breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are common health problems that impact millions of women, and diagnosing them early is essential. That's why AltaMed is going above and beyond to protect your health, including telehealth visits and keeping facilities clean and sterilized according to the highest standards put forth by the CDC.

While some common conditions and issues can be taken care of with a telephone or video chat with your doctor, there are still many preventive treatments and services for women that need to happen in person including routine mammograms, Pap tests, blood pressure screenings, and evaluations to determine if you are taking the right dosage of medication.

Many of these visits are covered at no charge by your health plan, so call us for details and to schedule!

Woman in Mammogram X-Ray Test

Why You Need a Mammogram

Women have about a 1 in 8 chance that they’ll develop breast cancer in their lifetime. A mammogram — an X-ray picture of the breast — is the best way to spot potential breast cancer early.

Your unique family history and personal risk factors will determine when you should start getting mammograms. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends healthy women of average risk, get a mammogram once every two years from age 50 to 74. Your doctor could recommend getting a mammogram as early as age 40 if you have a parent, sibling, or child who has had breast cancer.

It is also recommended that you become familiar with what your breasts normally look and feel like. If this changes, make an appointment to see your doctor.

How Often to Screen for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes of death for women in the United States. Advances in Pap tests, including increased usage, cut cervical cancer deaths dramatically.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends:

  • Get a Pap test every three years if you are between the ages of 21 and 29.
  • APap smear with specific HPV testing every five years is routine if you are between the ages of 30 and 65.

Your doctor will make recommendations based on your own unique health history and your family history.

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Schedule Your Well-Woman Visit

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first visit happen at age 13 – 15. Well-woman visits are essential and should be scheduled in addition to your mammograms and Pap tests.

Because well-woman visits focus on preventive care, each visit may be slightly different based on your age and unique health needs. Your visit may include:

  • Age-appropriate immunizations (for example, the flu vaccine or a TD shot, if needed)
  • Age-appropriate health screenings, which could include checking your blood pressure or a pelvic floor exam
  • Recommendations for additional testing to screen for cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or depression, as needed

Your doctor will likely ask about your health history and any health goals. They will offer recommendations to help you achieve those goals. To make the most of these visits, come prepared: think about any health questions you have, in advance, and take notes.

We’re Here for Every Age and Every Stage of Your Life

Trust AltaMed to support your unique health needs. From primary care and specialists to dentistry, behavioral health services, and pharmacy, we are dedicated to caring for women and those they love. Schedule an appointment today through MyAltaMed.

Health Care Services for Every Woman