May Is Women’s Health Month
During the month of May, spring is in full swing, flowers are blooming, the weather is heating up, and mothers are being celebrated on Mother’s Day for all of the amazing things they do. The month of May is also Women’s Health Month—also referred to as Women’s Health Awareness Month.
Women’s Health Month officially kicks off each year on Mother’s Day (May 8th in 2022) with Women’s Health Week, and continues throughout the month of May. In this article, we’ll explain the significance of Women’s Health Month, and how it can help women all around the country.
The Importance of National Women’s Health Month
Women’s Health Month serves as a reminder to take care of your overall health and make it a priority in your life. This includes seeking medical help when you need it, but it also involves engaging in preventive care to keep you healthy, like scheduling checkups, examinations, vaccinations, living a healthy lifestyle, and more. Around 15% of women over the age of 18 are in poor health.
Women’s Health Month also acts as an opportunity to educate women on the most common risks to their health, the symptoms, the warning signs, and when they should seek medical attention, so they know when something is out of the ordinary. Here are some of the most important health concerns that women should consider during Women’s Health Month:
Common Health Concerns for Women
- Breast Cancer – Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women in the United States. Each year, there are nearly 250,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed, meaning that around 12% of the female population will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. In order to keep yourself safe, it’s important to know the symptoms of breast cancer and have annual breast examinations to check for any signs.
- Cervical Cancer – There are over 300,000 women living with cervical cancer in the U.S., with around 14,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Cervical cancer is most commonly caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one of the most widespread sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). It can take years for cervical cancer to develop, so it’s important to know the symptoms, but also to get vaccinated against HPV and schedule routine screenings (Pap smears).
- Ovarian Cancer – There are around 19,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year. There are several risk factors for ovarian cancer that are important to be aware of, such as age—two-thirds of all cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 55. You should also get regular pelvic examinations to check for the disease.
- Sexual and Reproductive Health – A vital area of a woman’s overall health is sexual and reproductive health. Many of the health concerns mentioned above factor into sexual and reproductive health, but another key area is practicing safe sex. Safe sex can limit your risk of contracting STIs and help you avoid many of the symptoms and issues that come with them.
Caring for your sexual and reproductive health not only keeps your reproductive system healthy and safe, but it also ensures that you don’t develop any underlying issues. For women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s also vital to take proper prenatal care, and continue to prioritize your health throughout your pregnancy.
- Mental Health – Anxiety and depression are two major health concerns for everyone, but different disorders can affect women and men differently. That’s why it’s important to take care of your mental health by maintaining positive mental health, being aware of the potential signs of mental health issues, and seeking help when you notice changes in how you feel.
- Physical Activity – More than 60% of women in the U.S. do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity. This can lead to other health issues, like obesity, weak muscles and bones, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and more. Generally, it is recommended that women get around 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (such as brisk walking). Staying physically active will help to improve your overall health and well-being.
- Diet – Another important part of your health is what you eat. If you eat an unhealthy diet, then you are more likely to develop certain health conditions, like obesity. Eating a well-balanced diet will help to keep all parts of your body healthy, and prevent the development of other health issues.
- Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones, reducing bone density. Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men, with over 80% of cases in the U.S. occurring in women—around 8 million. Some important tips for avoiding osteoporosis include eating a diet with plenty of vitamin D and calcium, not smoking, and exercising regularly.
- Cardiovascular Disease – Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, resulting in nearly 300,000 deaths each year—the equivalent of 1 out of every 5 deaths in women. That’s why it’s crucial to know the risk factors—diabetes, obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol—and take the proper steps in your life to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Women’s Health Month is a great time to prioritize your health and to educate yourself further on the most common health risks women face. It’s also a perfect time to schedule any preventive care appointments, such as screenings, examinations, and tests. At MyAlly Health, we offer many of these services on a sliding fee scale according to income and family size, so talk to us today about taking care of your health.
You can get annual examinations, like physicals, wellness examinations, and mental health screenings to promote your overall health. You can also receive examinations like Pap smears to test for cervical cancer, and Gardasil vaccinations to protect you from HPV infections. We even offer a $25 gift card for completing a cervical cancer screening, a pelvic examination, or for receiving the Gardasil vaccine!
MyAlly Health offers confidential reproductive health services to women and men in the Grand Forks, North Dakota area, regardless of income or age. This includes preventive care, like getting tested for STIs, breast examinations, and pelvic examinations; determining the best birth control for you; and even getting vaccinated against the flu. The clinical services we provide are all performed by Nurse Practitioners and Resident Physicians.
In order to empower and engage individuals in their well-being and reproductive health, MyAlly Health offers education, counseling, advocacy, and healthcare services. Find out more about what we do, help make a difference by donating to our cause, or schedule an appointment with us today!
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