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Written by Claudia Krusch an originally published in Trendy Latina
You know how important it is to take care of your health, but as COVID-19 continues to impact us, it is more important now than ever to be proactive and maintain a healthy lifestyle for your overall health and well-being. I’m here today to share how women can be proactive with their health in the New Year.
Let’s start by scheduling past due checkups and doctor appointments you’ve been postponing (like me) since the pandemic started! Some important appointments, including annual check-ups and preventive screenings, were almost always in-person before the pandemic, but now more is being done virtually. To complement those appointments, you should also continue to be proactive with self-screenings at home, including keeping an eye on important women’s health matters such as your menstrual cycle.
Proactive Screenings With Your Health Care Provider
There are numerous ways for women to proactively manage their physical and mental health even during this pandemic – whether it’s virtual or in-person appointments. These appointments can be used to follow-up on medical conditions as well as to make sure you get your annual exams and screenings. You can your doctor can make a plan to ensure you’re holistically managing your health throughout the rest of the year. Here are a few important appointments to make:
Scheduling Your Annual Check-Up with the Gynecologist
No one loves getting an annual gynecological exam, but the fact of the matter is, it’s one of the most important check-ups you can get, especially if you’re a woman over the age of 21. Gynecology exams can help alert you and your doctor of early warning signs of very serious issues, like cancer or sexually transmitted diseases. If you are due for a visit, reach out to your gynecologist or midwife and ask if you should delay, come into the office or schedule a virtual visit.
Whenever I need to make an annual appointment at Inspira, I always feel safe knowing that precautions are being taken to ensure my safety and the safety of others.
Getting Screened for Breast Cancer
Getting screened for breast cancer is common and recommended for women starting at the age of 40. A screening appointment should be made every year, similar to the flu shot. There are multiple imaging technologies that help women catch breast cancer in its early stages. Inspira Imaging Centers offer 3D mammogram along with MRI and ultrasound technology. Self-exams done at home, should be done in addition to imaging like 3D mammography. Self-exams help a woman understand how her breasts feel normally, so if a change does occur, she is able to identify and address it quickly with her doctor.
Inspira also offers a quick online breast cancer risk assessment called Inspira Insight. It is used to assess your hereditary risk for breast and other cancers.
The earlier women get screened for breast cancer and know their diagnosis, the better the chances of a positive outcome. You can read more about the importance of early breast cancer detection in my last blog post.
Proactive Screenings at Home
In addition to scheduling my past due checkup appointments, I am also being more proactive with monitoring my health at home and keeping an eye out for signs or symptoms that may require medical assistance. After all, you live in your body and that makes you the best judge of your own health.
Symptoms Women Should Watch for in their Menstrual Cycle
Menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman, but it’s important to look out for notable irregularities. Each woman’s cycle length may be different, and the time between ovulation and when the next period starts can be anywhere from one week (7 days) to more. You count the length of your menstrual cycle from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. A typical cycle lasts 28 days, but for most adult women, anywhere between 24 and 38 days is considered “normal”. When your cycle falls outside these bounds, it’s considered irregular and you should watch for symptoms like skipped periods when you’re not pregnant, spotting between periods and excessively heavy flow during your period.
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider. The rise and fall of your hormones control your menstrual cycles. Having irregular cycles might signal a condition affecting your hormone levels. Or, it might be a sign of a problem with your reproductive organs.
Experiencing and Managing Perimenopause and Menopause
Perimenopause and menopause are stages in a woman’s life when her monthly period stops, starting with perimenopause as the transitional time. The average American woman enters menopause at 52 with the transitional period for a woman of perimenopause starting in her 40s. During this time, which can last 2 to 10 years, a woman’s body releases eggs less regularly, makes less estrogen and other hormones, becomes less fertile and has shorter and more irregular menstrual cycles.
Hot flashes, sleep problems, and mood changes are just some symptoms women can have during perimenopause/menopause, but Inspira Health can help by improving things like memory, mood, sleep and reducing hot flashes and who doesn’t want that, right?
What else am I doing to be proactive with my health in the New Year?
In addition to scheduling my annual doctor visits, I will also be scheduling other follow-up appointments and a dental check-up in the upcoming weeks.
This is all part of my journey to live my healthiest year ever! I just lost 10 pounds in 30 days, so I have decided to schedule an overdue visit to a nutritionist to make sure my efforts are going in the right direction! I’ve included some additional steps I’m taking toward being proactive with my health this year!
I will be exercising 3-5 times a week with activities that motivate me to move, rather than sitting all day. To help with this, I’ve revamped my home gym to make sure I have no excuses to exercise when it’s cold outside. When I can’t exercise outside, I’ve been using my treadmill and cycling bike to keep my heart rate up and to improve my mental health and well-being.
And lastly, I am taking a hard look at the different foods I am consuming and making it imperative to increase my vegetable intake, look to reduce carbs and sugars in my diet. Check it out! I recently started using cauliflower rice rather than regular rice when I make stir fry. Not to mention I am going to try and order some sort of vitamins and minerals to take to ensure my body is getting the correct nutrients it needs, if I can’t achieve this with my food intake. I’ve seen some excellent looking private label vitamins online, and I’ve heard they work wonders so I might have to give those a go next time.
Join me in proactively taking care of your health in the New Year. Be sure to:
- Reach out to your gynecologist or midwife and ask if you should delay, come into the office or schedule a virtual visit for your annual exam
- Take Inspira’s online breast cancer risk assessment to assess your risk for breast cancer and other hereditary cancers
- Watch for warning signs in your menstrual cycle
- Schedule an appointment at Inspira Health if you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause
Can’t wait to hear how you’re planning to be proactive with your health in the New Year!