Women: How not to sabotage your own health
You consider yourself a smart woman. You see your gynecologist every year, and perform your breast self-exam monthly. You try to watch what you eat and find time for exercise whenever possible. You almost always practice safe sex -- well there was that one time you forgot. It’s always good to look after one self. Are you taking time to do the things that can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other health conditions? Most women are too busy and barely get the chance to do anything after a long days’ work. I have to admit, I put off going to see my gynecologist as well, so come on girls, let’s do it.
· Did you know that wearing nylon panties, tight-fitting jeans, pantyhose without a cotton panel, or other garments that restrict airflow and hold in heat and moisture are contributing factors in yeast infections? Wearing cotton panties and avoiding such garments mentioned above will lower your risk of vaginal infections.
· Many women are under the false impression that if they see their gynecologist for a Pap smear every few years and perform monthly breast self-exam they have nothing else to worry about. However, all women need a comprehensive routine physical every 1 to 2 years to screen for other health conditions that may arise including diabetes and heart disease (the leading cause of death among women). Remember a clean bill of health only begins at your gynecologist's office.
· Having unprotected sex, even once, can lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS, and other vaginal infections. Condoms should be used during every act of sexual intercourse, unless you are in a mutually monogamous long-term relationship, regardless of any other birth control method you may use. Remember birth control pills and other forms of contraception do not protect against these diseases which can cause future reproductive health issues, as well as death in some cases -- a condom is your best protection outside of abstinence.
· Are you getting an adequate amount of calcium in your daily diet? Chances are that you are not. Calcium is not important only for growing kids -- it is a crucial nutrient throughout a woman's life. Calcium has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of PMS and is necessary to protect yourself against the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis later in life.
· Did you know that smoking is the most preventable cause of death in this country? Sadly, more than 140,000 women die from smoking-related causes each year. We all know that smoking increases our risk of heart disease and cancer; however for women smoking can play a significant role in infertility, miscarriage, and other reproductive health issues.
· Do you exercise regularly? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), just 30 minutes of exercise daily can significantly reduce your risk of disease. The benefits of regular exercise include a significant increase in life expectancy and improved overall health. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis, as well as reducing or improving the symptoms of menopause, PMS, diabetes, and numerous other conditions.
· Overeating, eating too much fast food or other restaurant meals is something many of us are guilty of -- this can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, gallstones, diabetes, and heart disease. The increase in the number of cases of gallstones, in women under 40, may well be attributed to the high fat content of too many fast food meals eaten by today's busy women.
· Finally, don't forget to take time to give yourself a break. Find time to relax, read a book, take a warm bath, or do something just for yourself. You'll be surprised at how much better you feel when you remember to take care of your own needs and relieve the stress of everyday life in our fast paced world.
Stating the obvious, yes but it takes a strong will to do even two of the things I have listed above. So go for it and see how far you can go. Remember your health is important.
Discuss any issues with your GP or any medical profession.
Compiler- Abigal Muchecheti
Author, Married to a Devil