McCrossen: Health tips for women in their 40s

Published 12:04 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

Forty is more than a milestone birthday – it’s the start of a major decade of change for a woman’s health. During this decade, a woman’s metabolism slows down, estrogen may start to wane, symptoms of perimenopause (or menopause transition) begin and more.

Here are four essentials for staying healthy during your 40s and beyond:

 

Don’t forget your pelvic exam and pap smear – You might be in your 40s, but this is still an important test to check for cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. Pelvic examinations are recommended every year. Your doctor may recommend a pap smear every one to five years, depending on your medical history.

Talk to your doctor about perimenopause –The level of estrogen in your body rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause and your menstrual cycles may become irregular, lengthen or shorten and/or become heavier or lighter. Other symptoms can include moodiness, insomnia, vaginal dryness, cognitive problems and more. From diet and lifestyle changes to medications, your doctor can advise on different ways to manage these symptoms.

Schedule an annual mammogram – The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. A mammogram can often find or detect breast cancer early, which is when it’s easiest to treat. In addition to a traditional mammogram, St. Charles Parish Hospital now offers Hologic® digital breast tomosynthesis or “3D mammograms,” which takes multiple images as an x-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, allowing the doctor to examine one breast layer at a time. The combination of 2D and 3D mammography can identify up to 20 percent more invasive cancers than conventional 2D mammography alone.

Establish (and maintain) healthy habits – Eat right, exercise, practice self-care and get a flu shot every year. These healthy habits go a long way to maintaining a woman’s overall wellbeing, especially as your metabolism slows down.

 

Dr. John McCrossen received his medical degree from LSU School of Medicine and completed his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology with Ochsner Foundation Hospital in 2004. He is board-certified and a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists. Appointments are available in Kenner, LaPlace and Destrehan. Dr. McCrossen specializes in Robotics and minimally invasive treatments for abnormal bleeding and fibroids and sees high and low risk obstetrical patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. McCrossen at Ochsner Health Center – River Parishes, 502 Rue de Santé in LaPlace, please call 985-652-3500 or schedule online at www.ochsner.org.