As I’m sure you’re well aware, October is Breast Cancer awareness month.
Ladies, I would be remiss if I didn’t use my platform to give yet another reminder.
I can see you rolling your eyes now. “How is this MAN going to tell me about women’s health?” Well, sure, I’m definitely not a ‘breastpert”! However, I have been married (to a woman) for almost a decade. I do have a mother, sisters as well as friends and clients that are women and whom I care a lot about.
Plus, I am just a huge believer in taking charge of your health and fitness. That means more than going to the gym a few times a week. It means taking time to focus on your diet, exercise and general wellbeing to help you enjoy a healthier and happier life!
With that in mind, I wanted to write about some women’s health checks that perhaps you haven’t even considered lately.
These checks may help to lessen the effect of some health issues affecting women particularly, or they may save you from having to deal with health problems in the future.
So let’s get into it!
Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of death in women around the world. Early detection is highly important to find any abnormalities and to increase the chances of surviving breast cancer, if it is found.
It’s important to learn how to check your breasts. With regular self-checks, you can get to know your breasts and you may be more likely to notice any changes. Becoming a ‘breastpert’ and knowing how to check your breasts is SO important, so that you can report any changes in your breasts to your healthcare professional.
Try to check your breasts every month!
Just like breast self-examinations, regular self-checks of your skin help you to get to know what is normal for you. Any changes to the appearance or feel of your skin are more likely to be picked up by you, so you can then get them checked out by a healthcare professional.
Check your skin all over, especially the arms, legs, face, back, neck, shoulders and the backs of your hands. This is what you should look out for:
- Any mole that has increased in size.
- Moles or spots that have changed shape or colour.
- A spot that has become raised or has developed a lump in it.
- A mole or spot that has a spreading or irregular edge.
- A mole with a scaly, rough or ulcerated surface.
- Any spot that is taking a long time to heal (four weeks or more).
- Spots that have become itchy or painful.
- Skin self-checks are recommended every three to four months.
Make sure you are protecting yourself against UV damage too, by wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen when you’re outside. If you’ve read about my skincare routine, you’ll know I recommend ALWAYS using sunscreen, even when indoors.
Routine blood tests
As part of your regular checkup, your doctor may request blood tests to check your cholesterol and glucose levels. Blood tests can check for high levels of cholesterol, which may indicate a higher risk for heart disease. A fasting blood sugar test (which measures the amount of glucose left in your blood when you haven’t eaten for eight hours) can be used to check for high blood sugar or diabetes. If you are at a high risk for either heart disease or diabetes, your healthcare professional can provide advice to help you manage these risk factors.
Dental care is often one of the lowest priorities when it comes to your overall health, but you should make an effort to follow through with oral care! A healthy smile means you should visit your dentist regularly for preventative checks. Poor dental health not only affects your teeth and gums, it can lead to other problems like infections and in severe cases, even malnutrition. If you have trouble chewing particular types of food, chat to your dentist!
Dental checkups are recommended every 12 months.
Another important women’s health check, pap tests are used to screen for any changes in the cells of your cervix before they develop into cervical cancer. Changes in these cells are almost always caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and many times these changes can be treated to prevent cervical cancer from developing.
Pap tests are recommended every two years for women over the age of 18.
Remember, everyone is different, so chat to your healthcare professional about any health screenings that might also be relevant to you. I want you to take care of themselves as best you can! Women’s health checks are important, so don’t put them off.