Don’t Neglect Your Body! Health Stuff All Women Should Stay on Top of
We live in a day and age where we’re always busy, always on the go, and our lives are open books. Us ladies are killin’ it for sure – managing successful careers, fun and exciting hobbies, rocking motherhood, cultivating awesome female friendships, building those brands and everything in between.
But one thing that many women, especially young women and super-busy women, tend to neglect, is their own health.
Part of it is societal – from infancy girls are taught to be polite, and quiet (the whole “seen and not heard” thing), and to downplay their discomfort. Add to that a life full of busy tasks, responsibilities and taking care of others, combined with our new incredibly online lives, where we always want to put our best face forward, never letting on that something might be wrong…well, it all adds up to a cocktail of pure procrastination when it comes to our health. And ladies: it’s making us sick. In some cases, it’s killing us.
Putting off going to the doctor, or having those uncomfortable and awkward conversations, is so risky and dangerous. We simply must get better at talking to our health care professionals and advocating for our own health, no matter what’s concerning you. Below are a few subjects that women neglect to discuss with their doctor, and why it’s important that you start:
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, and it’s not just elderly woman who are succumbing. More and more younger women are having heart issues each year, in part due to the extreme stress we face without seeking care, in addition to things like genetics, diet, exhaustion, and more.
Many of us mistake heart issues for panic attacks and vice versa, as the symptoms mimic each other. We’re often reluctant to “bother” a doctor or take the time and money necessary for a checkup if there’s a chance it’s a false alarm. So we suffer through the pain and anxiety and hope for the best. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry: if you’re every worried about your heart, see a doctor immediately. At the very least, if it’s anxiety, you can be treated for that, too.
So many women, especially very young women, don’t go to the doctor for STD or pregnancy testing. There are a variety of factors at play here: not having the resources (time, money or transportation), religious/moral views, imposing family, mixed feelings about a sexual partner or family planning, or just straight up embarrassment.
The good news, though, is that STD and pregnancy testing need not be an awkward, humiliating experience. Believe us, the docs and nurses you deal with at the clinic have seen it all and then some, and they deal with hundreds of tests per week. There’s no need to be embarrassed. Tests are conducted easily, usually free or low-cost, and it’s confidential. You’ll get your results quickly and if any treatment is needed, that’s also low-cost and confidential. There’s simply no reason not to get tested.
So many of us have had issues with disordered eating, dieting or eating disorders. The number is incredibly high, and yet most women don’t talk about it with each other, much less seek medical treatment for it. And you should. An untreated eating disorder can do more than just make you lose weight – it can affect your other organs, your immune system, and eventually cause death.
A doctor trained in EDs and other disordered eating patterns can help you get on the right track nutritionally, as well as refer you to a counselor or other doctor to help with the underlying issues. They’ll track your progress and make sure you’re staying on track with your recovery. It’s almost impossible to kick disordered eating on your own, but with a doctor’s expertise, it’s very possible.
For those who wish to lose weight, it’s always best to do it in conjunction with a doctor rather than joining costly and fraudulent diet programs or starting the newest fad diet craze, which are unsustainable, unrealistic and often don’t even work.
These are just three areas in which women should always seek out a doctor’s care. It can be hard, learning to stop putting off your health and well-being, but it can be done. Just remember that your physical health is more important than all the other stuff on your plate: without that, you can’t do anything.
And hey, while we’re talking about our health, don’t neglect your mental health, either! If you can afford it, looking into therapy is another great thing that every woman should do to be her best, healthy and happy self.