You can find plenty of important and valuable women’s health and wellness advice on the internet, yet this same educational tool can also lead to the widespread distribution of false information. In the past, young women heard myths from their parents and grandparents that got passed down through the generations. Nowadays, you can find ample misconceptions right at your fingertips on your phone or computer.
Separating the truth from the myths when it comes to women’s health is critical for preventing and treating a whole host of conditions—from cancer and STDs, to menopause and infertility. Determining myth from truth is one of the important roles of a women’s health doctor, and why it’s vital to choose an OBG/YN near you who can help determine what’s best for you.
In the meantime, we’ve listed some of the most common and harmful women’s health myths below, along with the truth to make sure you have the right information.
People often think about women’s health services as only being important for adults. The truth is that younger women and girls can start seeing a gynecologist as soon as they feel a need. OB/GYNs provide guidance that girls in their early teens may need, such as how to deal with symptoms that occur with their menstrual cycle or questions about how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and infections like HPV.
An OB/GYN does spend a lot of their time helping women who are in their childbearing years, and this is the prime time in life when women need to have a good relationship with their doctor.
However, this is one of the health misconceptions that can harm women the worst. Older women should still visit their doctor regularly for cancer screenings and to get help with health issues that menopause can bring on, such as vaginal itching and dryness or urinary incontinence.
A Pap smear is designed to screen for cervical cancer, not STDs. Although HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, it’s one of the only that can lead to cervical cancer which is why regular Pap smears are an important preventative step for detecting it. Women should be honest about their sexual history with their doctor so that they can receive appropriate testing for other sexually transmitted diseases as well (such as chlamydia and hepatitis C).
If drinking a glass of juice was all it took to treat an infection, then women would never suffer from urinary tract infections. Staying hydrated can help to dilute the bacteria in urine so that women feel less severe symptoms, but water can also help with that.
Often, it takes a visit to the doctor to get an accurate UTI diagnosis and antibiotics to clear the infection. Plus, UTIs can mimic the symptoms of other diseases, which makes getting a test even more important.
People tend to associate STDs with their worst symptoms such as itching, burning and sores. While these symptoms should always be checked out, there is also the possibility that women could feel perfectly fine for a long time.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs, for instance, because it doesn’t always show symptoms in men or women. Arranging for regular STD testing is important for catching these diseases early so that they can’t progress to more serious problems.
Many women’s health misconceptions revolve around breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. Although it’s true that genetics can play a role in your likelihood of developing cancer, lifestyle factors also play a major role. In addition, it’s possible to keep cancer from spreading by catching early cellular changes and treating them.
Mammograms and regular Pap smears can go a long way in helping identify cancerous changes early so that a less invasive treatment might be possible. A gynecologist can also help provide guidance on lifestyle changes that women can make to prevent cancer, like reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.
The best obstetricians and gynecologists play many roles as they pay attention to all of a patient’s health care needs throughout their life. During an annual visit, they may check a woman’s blood pressure and other vital signs. They can also screen for signs of domestic violence, as well as mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Having a primary care doctor who provides comprehensive services is an important step to identifying the many health conditions that are associated with the female body.
A low libido, pain during sex and dryness are all potentially treatable by a gynecologist. For some women, sexual health issues arise during menopause or other life transitions when hormones get imbalanced. Other women might be overstressed or need treatment for a related health condition. Your OB/GYN doctor can work with you to figure out what is causing your issue so that you can enjoy physical intimacy again.
Not all moms sail smoothly into motherhood without any problems. Postpartum depression can occur at any point during the first year after having a baby. Pregnancy symptoms can leave a woman unable to enjoy many of her former activities.
Although the transition to motherhood involves many changes, there is often a solution for any problem. Counseling and medication can help with postpartum depression, and women can be proactive about treating morning sickness and pain using safe strategies that their OB/GYN recommends.
When it comes to women’s health care, the truth is that regular visits to the doctor work to dispel myths and identify new or existing health concerns. If you have a question, treat what you read online with a grain of salt and seek information from a reputable OB/GYN doctor who can give you accurate women’s health facts.