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Womens’ Health Fair highlights new guidelines

By Staff | Apr 22, 2016

New guidelines for women’s health exams were one of the topics discussed at a womens’ health fair hosted by Women of the Word Bible study group at Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction on Tuesday.

Harpers Ferry Family Medicine doctor, Adrienne Zavala shared information about how women can take good care of themselves by visiting their doctors yearly and having the recommended tests. However, some of the timelines for testing have changed.

Zavala explained that it is now recommended that pap smears should begin at age 21, and instead of occurring yearly, they can be done every 3-5 years.

“The changes come about because there were a lot of false positives, which end up costing the patient more time and money in testing,” said Zavala. “The reason there’s a range (in years) is that we also check for HPV (human papillomavirus). If you have a negative pap, but weren’t tested for HPV, then you should be checked again in three years. If you have both tests and they are negative, you can wait five years before your next pap.”

Zavala also said that women over the age of 65 don’t necessarily need to have pap exams anymore if they have had normal test results prior.

“After a hysterectomy, you don’t need to get pap smears anymore unless your hysterectomy was done for cervical cancer,” continued Zavala. “If your uterus was taken out because you had cancer, we continue to do a pap smear on the tissue that’s left, but if the hysterectomy was done for any other indications, you don’t need to ever have a pap test again.”

Zavala also said that mammograms should begin at age 45-50, and those screenings happen less frequently as well due to the same reasons of false positives.

However, Zavala stressed that these guidelines do not preclude anyone with an increased risk for cancers from getting tests done more frequently. That is something that should be determined by an individual and their doctor.

The importance of key vitamins and nutrients was also stressed. Zavala emphasized the critical functionality of vitamins to women’s health as they age, highlighting Vitamin D as well. “It can be in a pill form, but it doesn’t have to be. These vitamins can be found in diet, and that is preferable,” said Zavala.

Good skin health and the use of makeup were some of the other topics discussed.

Charis Henson, one of the coordinators of the class, said that when surveyed, women were interested in learning about how to take better care of themselves and their skin. Anna Sokel from Sokel Makeup and Skincare in Charles Town was there to address the crowd.

Sokel has had over 30 years experience in the makeup industry and began to develop her own private product line several years ago. She has had an impressive resume of doing makeup for runway models, traveling with Paul Mitchell and doing makeup for channel 7 News and PBS. She has had her shop at 123 N. Charles Street for five years, and is available for consultations by appointment.

Sokel said that everyone’s skin is different, but all skin requires some the same care to fight aging.

“Keep it simple. Everyone needs to cleanse, tone, moisturize, use sunscreen every day and drink lots of water,” said Sokel. “The number one cause of visible aging is sun damage, and the number two cause is dehydration.”

After spending years in the business of makeup and skin care, Sokel has seen numerous people who have dry, sun-damaged skin, many of whom also have pre-cancerous cells as a result of sun exposure. For every day, going to and from the car, running errands, minimal time in the sun, Sokel recommends a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 20. For spending any significant amount of time in the sun, which includes things like mowing the lawn, driving, or a family picnic, she says people should use an SPF 50 and reapply often.

Sokel explained that healthy skin should be soft, flexible and slightly moist.

“The oil in our skin is there to protect us. It helps keep our skin moist and helps prevent aging, but people associate oil with dirt and they think they should strip those oils out of their skin,” said Sokel. “When you touch your skin, whether it’s your arm, your face, or your big toe, it should feel supple. It shouldn’t feel dry. A good skin care regimen, along with diet and lots of water is going to help that immensely.”

Visit www.sokelmakeup.com for more information about Sokel’s shop or to schedule a consultation.