How to Get the Answers to the Most Common Women's Health Questions

Given that only women experience pregnancy and childbirth, menstruation, menopause and cervical cancer, it's not surprising that women's health needs are quite distinct from those of men.

Instructions

  • TIP: A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week offers protection against chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
  • Step 1: Know that modern birth control pills are much safer than those used in the past, chiefly because they contain lower levels of hormones.
  • Step 2: Know that women begin to lose their fertility around age 35. However, medical treatments such as in vitro fertilization, have made it possible for women to conceive into their mid-40s.
  • FACT: In 2008, a 70-year-old woman in northern India who had received in vitro fertilization treatment gave birth to twins.
  • Step 3: Understand how much exercise you need to maintain your weight. One source recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week -- while watching calorie consumption, just to avoid gaining weight.
  • Step 4: Know that the best dietary sources of the nutrients your body needs are fresh, whole foods -- especially fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Step 5: Understand the need for periodic medical tests. Check with your doctor about which tests you should have and the frequency that you should have them.
  • TIP: Commonly recommended tests are thyroid function (after 35), bone mineral density and mammograms (after 40), blood sugar (after 45), and colonoscopies (after age 50).
  • Step 6: Know which medical symptoms you should not ignore. These include symptoms associated with heart attacks, stroke, reproductive health problems, breast problems, digestive or stomach problems, and skin problems.
  • Step 7: Know your nutritional needs. Women have special needs of folate and calcium. They also require adequate amounts of vitamin D to help their bodies use calcium.
  • Step 8: Recognize the need for taking proactive health measures like eating sensibly, exercising -- including weight bearing activities, and finding relief from stress.

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