Hesperian Health Guides
Other exams to stay healthy
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All women can take better care of their own health when they know how to look for signs of illness. For example, you or a person you trust can use the information about breast exams to check for signs of breast cancer.
There are other tests that can also be done at home by you, family members, or caregivers. But some tests are best done by a health worker in a clinic or hospital.
You can use a general health guide to learn to examine yourself, to learn the signs of different illnesses, or to learn more about the tests usually done in clinics. You can look at information in the books listed below: WWHND = Where Women Have No Doctor; MW = A Book for Midwives; and WTND = Where There Is No Doctor. All these books are available from Hesperian.
Exams that can be done at home
- abdominal (belly) exam, to check for pain and unusual lumps (WWHND)
- check for problems during pregnancy (MW-pdf Chapter 8, pages 109 to 114)
- pulse check, to make sure the rhythm feels steady (WTND-pdf Chapter 3, pages 32 to 33)
- blood pressure (WWHND) and temperature (WTND-pdf Chapter 3, page 30)
- signs of anemia (WTND-pdf Chapter 11, page 124)
- signs of hepatitis (WTND-pdf Chapter 13, page 172)
- vision test (WTND-pdf Chapter 3, page 33)
Exams that are done in a clinic or hospital
- Pap test of the opening of the womb (cervix) to check for cancer
- tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia
- blood test for anemia
- blood test for syphilis
- blood test for HIV
- blood test for hepatitis A, B, or C
- blood test for malaria (especially important for pregnant women)
- urine tests for diabetes
- stool test for worms and parasites
- mucus (sputum) test for TB
- urine or blood test for pregnancy
- urine test for infection of the bladder or kidneys