Employee & Community Health

6 health topics women should discuss with their clinician

5/9/2016 by Danielle O'Laughlin, PA-C

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National Women's Health Week is Mayo 10-16. To highlight the importance of women's health, here are six topics you should discuss with your primary care team.

Overall health

We sometimes take our day-to-day choices for granted, but discussing diet, sleep patterns and mental well-being can help keep you physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. 

  • Talk to your care team about your diet and exercise goals. there are plenty of options to help you achieve them, whether it's a wellness consult, meeting with a dietician or just having the support your team can offer while monitoring your health changes. 
  • Sleep and mental well-being are also important because they affect your overall quality of life, ability to maintain a healthy diet, exercise and cope with the stresses of daily life. 

Body changes

Body changes, such as weight gain or loss, change in skin, hair, vision or hearing, can signal underlying health conditions. If you notice something new, talk with your care team for additional evaluation. 

Sexual health and function

Most people are embarrassed or shy talking about their sexual health and function, but try to overcome your reluctance and discuss them on a regular basis with your care team, since changes in sexual health could indicate a health problem. Also, sexual health is an important part of many relationships, and problems in this aspect of your health can lead to issues with intimacy, relationships and and well-being. Your care team also can provide a listening ear if you have concerns - past or present - about sexually transmitted infections, abuse, safety and pregnancy. 

Hormones

No matter your stage of life, hormones play an integral role in it, so talk with your care team about current and future goals, which could include; 

  • Preventing pregnancy with contraceptives
  • Stopping contraceptives to start a family
  • Using contraceptives to control other symptoms such as acne, heavy bleeding or pain
  • Fertility/infertility
  • Preconception planning and questions
  • Non-hormonal versus hormonal options during menopause transition

Pelvic concerns

Pelvic concerns - including urinary incontinence, pressure or pain, pain with intercourse and uterine bleeding - may indicate a health problem. So schedule an evaluation and, based on the results, discuss treatment options with your care team. 

Preventive health maintenance and screening

Health maintenance and screening, including blood work, immunizations, eye examinations, pelvic examinations, mammograms, bone density, aneurysm screening and colon screening, help detect medical problems early so they can be addressed before they cause major health complications. Based on your age, past medical and family history, these tools can identify any areas of concern and help keep you healthy long-term. 

Danielle O'Laughlin, PA-C, is a primary care physician assistant in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine (PCIM) and team leader for the ECH Gynecology Clinic.