Women's Health Portal

Health and Wellness for Women

Last Updated: February 23, 2018
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Cancer  Prevention          

New Breast Cancer Mammogram Screening Recommendation External Link (Oct 15) (non-government) Breast cancer is a leading cause of premature mortality among US women. Early detection has been shown to be associated with reduced breast cancer morbidity and mortality. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has changed its breast cancer mammogram screening recommendations based on a systematic evidence review of the breast cancer screening literature.  The updated ACS recommendations include:

  1.  Women at average risk of breast cancer should begin annual mammograms at age 45 -- five years later than the ACS had previously recommended.
    1. Women aged 45 to 54 years should be screened annually.
    2. Women 55 years and older should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually.
    3. Women should have the opportunity to begin annual screening between the ages of 40 and 44 years.
  2. Women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.
  3. The ACS does not recommend clinical breast examination for breast cancer screening among average-risk women at any age.

Protect Your Daughters from Cervical Cancer External Link  (CDC) The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination can protect your children from several types of cancers. HPV vaccination means stopping the spread of the virus, which results in the reduction of cervical and other HPV-related cancers.  Children should receive two shots of HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart at ages 11 or 12, finishing the two-shot series before their 13th birthday. Teens and young adults through age 26 who have not received the HPV shots should ask their doctor or nurse about getting them now—it’s not too late!

Cancer and Women External Link (CDC) Every year, cancer claims the lives of more than a quarter of a million women in America.  Reduce cancer risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting the right cancer screening tests for your stage of life.

Skin Cancer Awareness External Link (CDC) Protect your skin while you enjoy the outdoors this summer by seeking shade, wearing sunglasses, a hat, and sun-protective clothing, and using sunscreen.

Illness Prevention

It's that time of the year when the flu and other respiratory illnesses seem to be the most contagious. Keep yourself and your family healthy by following these prevention tips: External Link (CDC)

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.

Injury Prevention

The physical requirements of being a military Service member naturally carry with them a degree of injury risk.  Differences in bone mass and physical stature may attribute to increased risk for injury in female Service members.  The following information can help to avoid injury and maintain your physical readiness.

US Army Combat Readiness Center External Link Provides a single source of safety and occupational health information for Soldiers, Department of the Army (DA) Civilians and contractor employees across the force.

Combat Arms Earplugs (APHC) Factsheet provides information on the use and care of Combat Arms Earplugs. 

Injury Prevention Epidemiology (APHC) The goals of injury prevention are to enhance the combat readiness and health of Soldiers by preventing injuries; and reduce injury rates Army-wide through a systematic program that guides and supports Army and Command prevention efforts through routine surveillance, evidence-based recommendations, rigorous program and policy evaluation, and collaboration.

Cold Injury Prevention (APHC) ​Leaders and soldiers should understand that prevention of cold injuries is vital to sustaining combat power. In cold environments, leaders must continually be aware of the condition of their soldiers and be especially alert for signs and symptoms of cold injuries. Prevention, early detection, and immediate evacuation are the leader initiatives through which cold injuries should be managed in the field.

Heat Injury Prevention and Sun Safety (APHC) Information on heat-related illness prevention and sun safety.      

Oral Health and Disease Prevention (APHC) Information on mouth health and disease prevention and the Mouth Protection and Mouthguard Program (APHC)

Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet on a regular basis and maintaining a healthy weight are critical to ensuring your mission readiness. Increased consumption of added sugars from 2005-2010  External Link (CDC) has been linked to a decrease in intake of essential micronutrients and an increase in body weight. Women aged 20–39 consumed an average 275 kcals from added sugars, women aged 40–59 consumed 236 kcals from added sugars, and women aged 60 and over consumed 182 kcals from added sugars.

The following links will provide you with the nutritional information you need to make healthy eating choices.

Performance Triad (P3)  External Link  Want to build and sustain personal strength, endurance, and mental agility? Did you know you can achieve these goals by improving your sleep, activity, and nutrition habits? Your daily routine in these three basic areas can increase or decrease your physical and mental performance and affect unit performance. Learn how to train like elite athletes. Begin your journey to optimal health with the strategies on the P3 website.

Nutrition and Dietary Supplements (APHC) This site is designed to provide nutritional resources for Service members and their families in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Good nutrition is vital to good health, disease prevention, and essential for healthy growth and development.

BMI Calculator External Link (non-government) This calculator provides BMI and the corresponding BMI weight status category. Use this calculator for adults, 20 years old and older.

Eating Disorders External Link (non-government) There is a commonly held view that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Staying Hydrated External Link (non-government) When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

National Institutes of Health: Dietary Supplements Fact Sheets External Link The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) fact sheets give a current overview of individual vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements. ODS has fact sheets in two versions—Health Professional and Consumer.

US Department of Health & Human Services (DHSS) Overweight, Obesity & Weight Loss Fact Sheet External Link Over 60 percent of U.S. adult women are overweight, according to 2007 estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Just over one-third of overweight adult women are obese. Fact Sheet provides information on how to determine if you are overweight or obese, making healthier food choices, physical activity guidelines, and weight loss. 

Oral Fitness

Oral Fitness Information (APHC) ​Oral Fitness/ Dental Readiness is essential for unit readiness. The best way to maintain oral fitness is to prevent dental disease from developing in the first place. Oral diseases have a disruptive effect on mobilization and sustainment operations.

My Dental  (AKO) External Link (CAC Required) Information on your dental readiness and oral health resources.

Operation Live Well

Operation Live Well External Link DoD-wide initiative sponsored by the Military Health System that offers a variety of educational resources on women's health topics ranging from mental wellness to nutrition and physical activity. 

Periodic Health Assessments (PHA)

The PHA is a preventive screening tool designed to improve individual medical readiness and health status reporting. It is required for all military Service members regardless of component.  Currently the PHA is a two part process and is an annual requirement; the first portion is done through AKO and is accessible through the "My Medical Readiness" tab (www.us.army.mil External Link - AKO, password/CAC required).  To complete part two of the assessment, you will need to schedule an appointment with your provider.  

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is the practice of keeping the body well-groomed and clean. Requirements for maintaining hygiene are somewhat different for women and men. Women's personal hygiene is more complex in that special care must be taken to prevent problems associated with the menstrual period, urinary tract infections and yeast infections. The following information provides female-specific information to help you maintain optimal cleanliness. 

Douching External Link Douching is washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. In the United States, almost one in five women 15 to 44 years old douche. Doctors recommend that you do not douche. Douching can lead to many health problems, including problems getting pregnant. Douching is also linked to vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Feminine Hygiene Tips for Young Adults External Link (non-government) Tips for teens to improve feminine hygiene. 

Brushing Your Teeth  External Link (non-government)  Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile the American Dental Association ( ADA) recommends you:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

Proper Hand Washing External Link (CDC) Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It's quick, it's simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.

Physical Fitness/Active Living

Physical fitness is important for everyone but it's especially important for military service members. In addition to expectations that service members meet the physical demands of military service, active living should also be pursued and maintained for the health benefits that come along with being fit.  The following links provide a comprehensive variety of active living and fitness information. 

Current American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise Guidelines External Link (non-government) Website outlines  ACSM time and intensity recommendations for cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility and neuromotor exercises. 

Minimalist Running Shoes  (APHC) Minimalist Running Shoes  (MRTs) have recently been touted as a fitness 'must have'.  This link provides you an evidence-based review of the injury risk and performance among soldiers wearing MRTs compared to traditional running shoes. 

Physical Fitness Requirements for Professional Military Education External Link (Oct 12) (non-government) Soldiers who are identified to attend specified courses (e.g. Captains Career Course, the Sergeants Major Academy, etc.)  and schools will get an initial Army physical fitness test, height and weight screening. Those who don't pass the initial test will be allowed one retest. Soldiers who don't meet requirements after the second test will be removed from the course. Their service school academic evaluation report will also be annotated "failed to achieve course standards."

Physical Fitness & Training (APHC) Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it can help:

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls
  • Increase your chances of living longer

US Army Physical Readiness Training iTunes App External Link (non-government)

Self Care Charts           

Please visit the Self Care Charts page (APHC) to access a wide variety of symptom evaluation charts. The charts include a brief introduction to each symptom along with a list of questions to help you decide whether to:

  • Get medical help right away
  • Go to sick call, or
  • Use a self-care measure.

TRICARE covers clinical preventive services for all beneficiaries. Click on the links below to  find out more information about specific preventive services: