3 common health mistakes women make
1/11/2016 4:39 PM
As a women’s health nurse practitioner, there are a few mistakes that I commonly see among women when it comes to their health care.
1. Pelvic exams don’t always include a Pap smear.
Many women assume if they have a pelvic exam in the Emergency Room that they received a Pap smear, which involves collecting cells from the cervix to test for cervical cancer. This is normally not the case. When a provider conducts a pelvic exam, they look for visual abnormalities with a speculum and will feel the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries to check for tenderness and other irregularities. If you are confused about if you received a Pap test or not, ask your doctor. Do not assume that you are safe for another year.
2. Women often don’t know where they fall on the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart.
It’s important to know if you are overweight or obese because it’s a major contributor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. There are several free BMI calculators online that will help you calculate your BMI based on height and weight. Furthermore, it's also important to know other personal health information such as cholesterol levels and family history.
3. Not being completely honest with their health care providers
It’s important to be 100 percent truthful when it comes to your personal wellness. If you smoke or drink, don’t hide it. Find a physician that you feel comfortable communicating with.
I encourage all women to be active participants in their health care journey. Know your numbers, be honest and don’t put things off. If you suspect there is something you need to have checked out, schedule an appointment with a health care provider.
For more useful health tips, visit Central Texas Medical Center’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/CTMC_SanMarcos
About the Author
Ann Bailey, WHNP, is a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner for Live Oak Health Partners in San Marcos, Texas.