Are you avoiding going to women’s health center? You’re not alone. Women will often procrastinate or “forget” to go see the doctor or gynecologist. Or they may only go when something is wrong.
It’s really in your best interest to avoid this, and be strict with yourself about regular check-ups and staying on top of your health.
We don’t want to sound like your mother (even though she’d agree with us. Just sayin’), but here are the 3 major reasons you need to make and keep your appointments at your local women’s health center.
1. You Need Regular Pap Smears
You probably already know most of this, but let’s rehash the basics. The “Pap,” as it is sometimes called, checks you for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix.
Generally, your 1st Pap smear should come within 3 years after becoming sexually active, or by the time you reach age 21. Whichever comes first.
After that initial test, women who fall under the age of 30 should get that Pap smear every 2 years to check for the early warning signs of cervical cancer.
Women who are over 30 years old should tighten that Pap smear schedule up to every two years, if possible.
But if you’ve seen 3 normal Pap smears in a row, on that schedule, women in the 30+ demographic can go back to Pap smears every 3 years, if
- You don’t have a history of moderate or severe dysplasia (a grading of the severity of abnormal cells)
- You don’t have HIV or AIDS
- Your immune system isn’t compromised in any way
- You were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth
However, you should have Pap smears every 2 years if you’re frequently changing sexual partners, or your partner has had multiple partners. That leads us to our next point.
2. Your Women’s Health Center Provides STD/STI Tests
It’s very important to know if that discomfort you’re experiencing is a bladder infection or something more serious. If you’re worried about an STI right now, finding a location is easy.
Did you know that as many as 50% of men and 75% of women do not know they have chlamydia? That’s what makes it so dangerous. Often times a woman may have it, but show no symptoms whatsoever. At the same time, people with HIV don’t develop symptoms for 10 years.
Here are a few instances where he would definitely want to get an STD test.
You’ve entered a new relationship
If you and your new partner are serious and want to move to not using condoms on a full-time basis, you both clearly need to be tested for STI’s. It’s the responsible thing to do, even though it’s not often a pleasant conversation to have.
Of course, the topic needs to be approached carefully and framed like you’re doing the responsible thing because you want to stay with this person and be intimate with them. You can never come off like you don’t trust them. Or implying that they have a sordid sexual history. That’s how fights get started, and tests get avoided.
If your partner refuses to get tested, that is a massive red flag. Being uncomfortable, shy, or bashful will only carry you so far in this situation. Proper testing is an absolute must. for both of your sake.
You suspect your partner has been unfaithful
This is another big one, even though it’s another uncomfortable area to talk about.
You may have confronted your partner, and they may have told you that they’ve been faithful. But, you’re still within your rights to get checked anyway. It’s your health.
You’ve had unprotected sex or a one night stand
This one speaks for itself. if you’ve done either of these things you obviously need to be concerned about pregnancy or contracting an STI. So getting tested as soon as possible is paramount.
You’ve been contacted by a former sexual partner and…
Again with the really uncomfortable conversations. A former lover has reached out to you, either on the phone or Facebook, to warn you that they have tested positive for something. They said you should get yourself checked out.
Once the anger subsides, get yourself to a woman’s health center as soon as possible to get tested.
3. There has been a change in your body
Trust us when we tell you that going to your local women’s health center is a lot better than freaking yourself out by googling things are looking them up on WebMD.
Doing this is very seldom a source of comfort, and gives you no real guarantee of a proper diagnosis.
We all love the anonymity of an incognito tab on your computer telling you what might be wrong with you. But it’s only what might be wrong. It’s your body, you need to evaluate enough to get a professional opinion.
Some of the changes in your body that you should go talk to a professional about include:
- Any new pain or discomfort or itching
- Any difficulty getting pregnant
- Any blemishes freckles are moles you don’t like the look of
- Any unexplained changes to your energy level or sleep patterns
- Any changes to your moods or thinking patterns
- Any regular or sustained headaches, nausea, or dizziness that can’t be explained
- Cold or flu symptoms that seem to drag on for weeks
- Any frequent or unexplained stomach pains, cramps, or painful bowel movements or urination
- Any nagging pain or injuries that you may have sustained around the house, or from working out
- Any noticeable changes to your vision, hearing, or other senses
Again, the staff at your women’s health center is discrete, empathetic, and professionally trained. Asking your friends and family if they’ve ever experienced what you’re experiencing is a good start. But it’s dangerous to proceed on their advice alone.
Protect yourself and ensure your ongoing health and happiness by using your women’s health center to the fullest. It’s there to help you, so let it!
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