May is here, and with it comes May flowers -- and Women’s Health Month! Addressing the aspects of your healthcare that are specific to you as a woman is an important part of living a balanced, healthy life overall. But between work, family, and even personal reservations about visiting the gynecologist, many women struggle to prioritize their own health each day.
At Prima Care, we want women to know how important it is to maintain good health and receive the care they deserve. Here are three tips from our gynecology department on how to look inward and focus on your health, during Women’s Health Month and all year round.
1. Keep Up With Healthy Routines
The health benefits that come along with having a steady routine are numerous, but between being a busy woman and navigating COVID-19 closures, you may have begun to struggle recently with maintaining that routine. As difficult as it may be, it’s worth it, both for your mental health and your physical health. Two of the most important routines for women to maintain are a steady form of exercise and a healthy sleep schedule: both of these practices can help you reduce your stress levels, manage mental health struggles, and stay at a lower risk for certain conditions that disproportionately affect women.
2. Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
May isn’t just Women’s Health Month. It’s also Mental Health Awareness Month, and researchers suggest that the two may go hand in hand. Studies show the following statistics regarding women and mental health:
- Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression.
- Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well.
- Bipolar disorder appears to be more prevalent in women.
- Women can be affected by mental health struggles related to their periods, such as PMDD.
- Women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men.
With these risks in mind, the team at Prima Care strongly urges women to pay attention to their mental health. If you’re not feeling like yourself or struggling to stay in control, don’t hesitate to reach out for counseling or medical assistance. You deserve it.
3. Don’t Forget Your Regular Exams
Most women see visiting the gynecologist as a pain, an imposition, or even something to avoid -- but we cannot stress enough how important it is to receive your necessary gynecological exams on a regularly scheduled basis. Breast cancer screenings have been shown to reduce breast cancer-related mortality in women ages 50-69 years by up to 35%, and Pap smear testing has had a major role in reducing cervical cancer-related mortality among women. At Prima Care, we recommend that women 30 and older receive a Pap smear once every five years, and that patients should adhere to the following guidelines for breast exams:
- Women 20 and older should perform breast self-examinations every month.
- Women 20 to 39 should have a clinical breast examination every three years.
- Women 40 and over should have a screening mammogram every year, or more often for women at increased risk.
- Women with family histories of breast cancer should ask their doctors about more frequent or earlier mammograms.
Visiting a gynecologist you can trust to treat you with care, respect and understanding is important to creating an experience where you feel safe receiving the exams you need. At Prima Care, Dr. Brenda Roy is a board-certified gynecologist with years of experience in providing women with compassionate, high-quality care and support.
The team at Prima Care is passionate about providing you with the comprehensive, customized care you deserve. If you need Women’s Health support to start living the best life you possibly can, schedule an appointment online today!