5 Women’s Health Misconceptions Heard by an OB-GYN
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Running a women’s health center, we hear it all. There are several misconceptions about women’s health in today’s world, which is why we as OB-GYNs work diligently to ensure that our patients feel comfortable directly asking us questions about their own bodies. We thought it would be helpful to share some of the most common women’s health misconceptions we regularly hear, along with reasoning as to why they are in fact misconceptions. As always, if you have a specific question about a health issue you are facing, it is important to speak to a medical professional to discuss next steps. Read on for 5 women’s health misconceptions often heard by OB-GYNs.
1. “After I’ve had children, I don’t need to see an OB-GYN anymore”
False. Postpartum care is vital after having a child, and pelvic exams should continue throughout a woman’s menopausal years. Many women believe that there is no reason for them to continue seeing an OB-GYN once they are done having children or have hit menopause. This is entirely untrue- in fact, the risk of cancer increases with age, making it necessary to regularly visit your OB-GYN. Pelvic screenings rule out certain cancers and are a vital part of maintaining a woman’s health throughout her lifetime.
2. “Miscarriages are rare”
False. While miscarriages are heartbreaking occurrences that no one wants to think about, they are not uncommon. Miscarriages are even considered a normal part of the reproduction cycle for many women. According to March of Dimes, as many as 50% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage (with 15-25% of “known pregnancies” ending in miscarriage). A miscarriage does not mean you will never be able to conceive again, and most women who experience a miscarriage are able to successfully carry a pregnancy to term at a later time. Patients experiencing three or more miscarriages may want to seek the help of a fertility specialist to determine if there is an underlying health concern present.
3. “If I’m not sexually active, I don’t need to see an OB-GYN”
False. We highly recommend adolescent gynecology services for adolescent women- even those who are not sexually active. A gynecologist helps guide women throughout their reproductive journey, from the first period to post-menopausal years. Adolescent gynecology is a great way for young women to ask a healthcare professional any questions they might have about menstruation and to discuss issues girls may be facing, such as excessive bleeding or painful periods. A pelvic exam is typically not required for those who are not sexually active, but seeing an OB-GYN is still an important part of maintaining one’s health.
4. “Having an irregular or painful period is normal”
False. While irregular periods are common, they may point to an underlying condition or disease that should be addressed with an OB-GYN. Many women put up with irregular and painful periods thinking that there is nothing that can be done to help, but your doctor may very well be able to determine the cause and address the issue. Irregular or painful periods should never be ignored or brushed off as something minor that isn’t worth investigating.
5. “There is no way to prevent HPV”
False! This is such a common misconception, especially considering how common HPV is. In fact, more than 3 million people in the U.S. contract Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) each year and 1 in 4 Americans has HPV. However, there is a vaccine for HPV that we recommend for those between the ages of 9 and 26 to prevent HPV. It is a series of three vaccines that are most effective when given to girls and boys ages 9-11. HPV can lead to cervical cancer, so this is not something to be taken lightly.
Talk to an OB-GYN at Women First Health Center
Do you have a burning question for your OB-GYN? Schedule your annual exam today. We are happy to speak with you about any misconceptions you may hold to ensure that you have the most accurate information about your body and health. Our board-certified physicians are here to provide comprehensive care and services focused on all areas of women’s health. We look forward to serving you at Women First Health Center!