Your 20s: body basics

No woman in her 20s is exactly like another, and no two women will experience their 20s in the same way. But there are some commonalities and a few things you can count on.

During this decade, women come to know their own bodies better, gaining a deeper understanding of their menstrual cycles and their arousal patterns. Some women experiment with their sexual lifestyle, perhaps taking on more numerous sexual partners than at any other time in their lives. Because of this, women in their 20s have a higher rate of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, than at any other time in their life.

More frequent sexual activity can also put women at risk for more frequent urinary tract infections. Hormonal fluctuations, use of certain kinds of contraception, and poor hygiene can contribute to yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, which are common at this age.

Choices will need to be made or re-evaluated regarding birth control. A number of women enter into monogamous relationships during their 20s and the decision whether or not (and when) to have children will become a serious concern. First-time mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy related high blood pressure, or preeclampsia. Otherwise, fertility will most likely not be an issue at this age.

In your 20s, you may still struggle with acne, or with finding the best possible skin care products for your skin type. More than likely, your skin will look radiant and healthy no matter what your habits or routines. At this time in your life, you still have a sufficient store of collagen. Some of the biggest skin-emies of your 20s will be sun overexposure and inadequate UV protection, and poor nutritional habits. Skin cancer is becoming more and more prevalent in young women.

Putting on too much weight during this time can set you up for health problems later in life, in particular diabetes or cardiovascular problems. Your bones bear the burden of excess weight and poor habits, too. A diet plentiful with bone-building calcium is essential.

Your 20s are a time of limitless possibilities. It's a time to take advantage of your youth, energy, and resilience and to create a strong foundation that can carry you along through a long, healthy, happy life.

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