“You don’t need to get your cholesterol labs checked – your under 30.”
“It’s probably just IBS.”
“There’s no need to do a well check every year, just come back every 3 years, or if something is wrong.”
It’s no secret that women don’t always put themselves and their health first. Women selflessly put other priorities like their family and their careers before their needs. So why is it that when they finally make it a priority to see the doctor for a well check or because something is wrong, they hear the comments above, and their requests are brushed off?
I unfortunately have heard every one of the phrases above myself, or first hand from a client.
This week is National Women’s Health Week, and if you have heard any of the comments above, or feel as though you are not being heard by your medical provider, I encourage you to be an advocate for your health and keep fighting until you have an answer! Do not accept a medical provider brushing off your symptoms as normal/IBS/hormones/etc. If you think something is wrong and you are not being heard, seek a second opinion and find yourself another provider.
Here are 3 ways women can take control of their health care now:
- You need more than just an OBGYN. Research has shown that many women treat their OBGYN as their internal medicine provider/primary care physician – but they are not. Think of establishing a medical home with an internal medicine provider/primary care physician as your “home base.” This is the person who knows everything about your health, your family history, and the specialty providers you see. They will set goals with you, and check your regularly for heart disease, diabetes, mental health, cancer, nutrition, bone density, and keep your vaccinations up to date.
- Start a health journal today. Log your symptoms along with the day, time, and any other pertinent information (whether you were exercising, what you were eating, stress level, etc). I use the Healthie app with my clients, and I always encourage them to log symptoms as well as their meals/snacks to show to their provider. This will provide more information, and allow the provider to see patterns. If you have the ability to send this to your provider before your appointment, even better!
- Write down your questions and concerns. Start a list of questions that you have or topics you would like to discuss in your phone 1-2 weeks before your appointment with any medical professional (doctor, dietitian, physical therapist, psychiatrist). It’s easy to get nervous and forget what you wanted to ask the provider. This list ensures that your questions are answered, regardless of the time restraints that may be put on your appointment.
You know your body better than anyone else.TRUST YOUR GUT. If you feel that your symptoms are being brushed off, keep pushing. If you are not seeing results, it’s time to find another provider.