Health Secrets Every Woman Should Know

two women doing yoga poses on rocks( — On average, you get less than 10 minutes of actual face-to-face time with your doctor. So naturally, during that time, the doc can’t tell you every single last need-to-know detail. Unfortunately.

But since many women rely on their gynecologist for a large portion of their health care, there’s still some must-know women’s health info that your doctor might not have gotten around to sharing with you.

Below are some must-know things your gyne may not tell you (but still wants you to know):

Pee before sex. While you’ve probably heard that it’s a good idea to pee after sex, it turns out that you should actually hit the potty before as well. Turns out, when your bladder is full, there’s more room for bacteria to find their way in.

Wash your hands often to prevent birth defects. Eighty-six percent of women have never heard of cytomegalovirus, or CMV. If a mommy-to-be picks up this extremely common virus (you likely come in contact with it on a daily basis) while pregnant, she can pass it along to the fetus. This can cause blindness, deafness, severe disabilities, and death. 1 in 150 children are born with CMV – more than Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, spina bifida and pediatric HIV/AIDS. The good news? So many illnesses can be prevented by simply washing your hands well and often –especially if you are around kids.

Ditch the p.m. tampon. No, it’s probably not going to kill you, but if you’re prone to UTIs, consider going with a pad instead (especially on weekends when you’re likely to sleep in). Blood breeds bacteria, so the longer you go without changing it up, the more likely you are to develop an infection.

Postpartum symptoms can begin long after you give birth. Studies show, in fact, that postpartum can manifest itself up to a year later. If you feel anxious, sad, withdrawn, etc., don’t blame it on lack of sleep or simply making the transition into mommy-hood. Get to a doctor soon to discuss your symptoms.

Wear a panty-liner during exercise. Sweaty workout pants are a breeding ground for bacteria. Either shower and change right after your workout, or wear a liner to help keep things under control until you can.

Know your breast density. Mammograms are likely to miss tumors in women who have dense breast tissue (because it shows up white, just like a mass would). Yet only 9 percent of doctors discuss breast density with their patients. Dense breasts also might make it more difficult to ID a suspicious lump during a self exam. If you have a family history of breast cancer, ask your doc if you should have imaging done to determine your breast density. If you are dense-chested, have her mark it in your file. When the time comes, you may be better off having an ultrasound (or other imaging) as opposed to a mammogram.

And remember: We women have a lot on our minds! So maximize the benefits of your next appointment by jotting down your concerns, and bringing the list with you to the office. Fire away the minute you have the doc’s attention.


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