Women’s Health IssuesOctober 06, 2017
Women have a number of unique health concerns that require attention, and your local health clinic can help you make the most of your life as a woman. From healthy skin, to sexual health and feeling good about yourself, your local health clinic can help you in every aspect of your health. Your health as a woman is your most important asset, and you spend so much of your time looking after others, at work and in responsibilities, so it is imperative that you schedule time to ensure that your health stays in focus.
Without good health, you are unable to do the things you need to do, and to be able to have the energy to enjoy your life. Here are some health tips to help you keep yourself in excellent shape and having a daily sense of vigor and spark.
Women and Hormones
Through the time women go through puberty to menopause, hormones help to regulate the period cycle, and control the reproductive ability of a woman. Our reproductive organs are quite delicate, and subjective to the state of our overall general health. Ensuring that you maintain proper health, including reducing the amount of stress in your life, getting enough sleep and rest, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, embarking on a gentle exercise program, and doing daily mindfulness or yoga will help keep your hormones stable.
Some women may end up finding they feel tired, or listless or moody, or have problems with temperature fluctuations. This could indicate some hormone problems, such as when a woman is going through the onset of menopause.
Hormone problems can cause vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping and mood disturbances. It is worth getting hormone levels tested if you have any concerns, and the doctor can order some pathology tests. Should you have any results that are abnormal, your primary health care practitioner can assist you to consider a range of treatment options.
Hormone replacement therapy has been approved for the prevention of osteoporosis, and for the treatment of peri-menopause and menopause. The dosage of HRT is a lot less than it was several years ago, due to the concern over some side effects. HRT has been associated with the risk of breast cancer, clots and stroke.
A doctor will weigh up the benefits of a patient being treated with HRT, as opposed to her risk, and far often the benefits outweigh any associated risks. Generally the treatment regime is to be given a course of HRT at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time to provide relief of menopausal symptoms and help improve quality of life.
Women and Breast Health
Breast checks should be a regular part of a women’s health regime. At least every several months, a woman should check her breast for changes in size, texture, any markings, appearances of veins, crinkling or leaks when she is not breastfeeding. If there are any strange lumps or any part feels warm or hot, the doctor should be informed immediately. Breasts go through changes from puberty, then through pregnancy and childbirth, through to breastfeeding and then menopause.
Breast cancer if detected early enough is treatable with a high success rate of being in complete remission post-diagnosis.
Contraceptives and Birth Control
There are a number of methods of birth control, chiefly these are hormonal and either prevent conception from occurring by preventing ovulation, or by preventing a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus.
Hormonal tablets, implants and intra-uterine devices offer hormonal methods of birth control, while sterilisation (tubal ligation) and condoms, cervical caps and copper IUDs offer mechanic type birth control. Historically most forms of birth control are over 99% effective, and allow women to control when and if they have children.
In some cases of unplanned pregnancy, a doctor can discuss a woman’s options with her should she consider not continuing with the pregnancy. There are different laws pertaining to the continuation of a pregnancy and abortion, and a primary health care practitioner or family planning specialist can assist a woman in considering her options.
Women’s Sexual Health
From the time we are little girls, we need to take particular care of our reproductive organs. Every woman over the age of 18 who is sexually active needs to have a bi-annual pap smear and an annual breast check. It is recommended to also have STD checks if you have had more than one partner, or if you are not sure your partner is exclusive with you.
If you are having sex with your partner, you need to ensure that after sexual intercourse that you void your urine in order to prevent any of your own natural flora from going back up into your urethra to cause a urinary tract infection. Taking cranberry tablets while you are sexually active has been studied to some effect in being able to help prevent UTIs, but the evidence has not been totally conclusive.
When you are sexually active, ensuring that you stay aware of your own natural flora and discharge, and biorhythms helps to diagnose any problems should they occur. If you have any pain urinating, or foul smelling discharge or pain in the vagina after sex, or bleeding when you are not due for your period, this should be brought up with your doctor.
When your daughter starts having her periods, teaching her proper hygiene is important, that she wash herself at least twice daily and ensures that her hands are clean before and after inserting tampons. If you use tampons, ensure that they are changed on a regular basis to prevent toxic shock syndrome, or use sanitary pads at night time.
Some women find a silicone menstrual cup more convenient for their period, and these can be sterilised and washed in between uses, and avoids the mess and wastage of tampons and sanitary pads. Silicone menstrual cups can be used by pubescent girls through to women who are going through menopause.
Women and their hormonal and reproductive systems are quite complex and require regular self-checks and tests with their GPs to ensure that they stay in excellent health. With preventative medicine, and regular diagnostic testing (for example pap smears and breast checks) women can have any potential problems diagnosed early, and when health issues are diagnosed early this provides the best possible prognosis.
Your general practitioner is foremost your greatest health advocate, and is the first person to speak to should you have any concerns about any area of your health. Some doctors are women’s health specialists, and can assist in providing additional care during pre-conception, pregnancy and post-birth.
Women’s bodies are amazing in their complexity and their ability to bring forth life and to nurture it. Protecting your health, and putting your own needs first so that you can live a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle are imperative goals as a woman.
At Ubuntu Medical, we also have a Women’s Health Clinic.