Healthy bodies and healthy minds

All South African women, regardless of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, are celebrated on Women's Day and during Women's Health month.

All South African women, regardless of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, are celebrated on Women's Day and during Women's Health month.

The day serves to inspire women to achieve their full potential. To do this, they need to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are in top physical and mental shape.

"As women age, their bodies undergo several dramatic changes and, as the decades go by, different health concerns need to be on top of a woman's mind," says Thandi Mtsi, a gynaecologist at the Clinix Health Group, a leading black- owned private hospital group.

Mammograms and Pap smears can detect diseases early, when they are easier to treat. Some women need certain screening tests earlier or more often than others.

"If you are at high risk for diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer or other conditions, talk to your primary health care professional about any special considerations you should know about," says Mtsi.

Women in their 20s should have Pap smears every year, especially if they are sexually active. But if they have multiple sex partners, a weakened immune system or HIV infection, they may need more frequent Pap screenings.

In their 30s, yearly Pap smears are also essential. Because metabolism starts to slow down, it is important to exercise more and eat healthy.

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