Setting the Record Straight on Women’s Health Myths
It’s no surprise that the topic of women’s health has been riddled with myths since, well…forever. Luckily, we’re here to help. By dispelling certain myths about women’s health (including a heap of period-related ones!), we can help to reduce the stigma that prevents women from speaking up to their doctors, their friends or their family about issues that may affect their quality of life. That’s why we’ve rounded up a few common misconceptions about women’s health and menstruation to finally set the record straight.
Myth 1: Your heavy, irregular period is just something you have to live with.
Believe it or not, a lot of women experience irregular or heavy periods (1 in 5 women, to be exact!).1 Unfortunately, many of those women assume they just have to “put up with” the heavy bleeding, spotting, clotting and cramps – especially if no one has told them otherwise. So when your doctor asks you if your period is normal, be honest! A heavy or irregular period could be an indication of a more serious medical issue, so it’s important to discuss these things with your doctor. Luckily, there are an array of treatment options out there if you’re finding that your period affects your quality of life. Your doctor will help you identify what’s right for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up!
Myth 2: Doctors don’t care about your personal life.
Whether you’re talking to your primary care physician, an OBGYN or specialist, it’s important to discuss any personal issues that may have an affect on your physical health. Things concerning your sexuality, personal relationships, mental health or alcohol consumption are all important to touch upon, especially if you’ve experienced any health problems as a result.2 Your doctor wants what’s best for you, so don’t feel like you’re oversharing by telling them about your personal life.
Myth 3: If your doctor tells you you need a hysterectomy, then it’s the only option.
Unless your doctor advises you to get a hysterectomy for an emergency medical condition, you may benefit from a second opinion. Ninety percent of hysterectomies are performed for benign conditions, that can often be treated with new procedures or medications that spare the uterus.3 Ask your doctor if minimally invasive treatment options could be right for you.
Myth 4: Your period is shameful.
Misconceptions about periods are common, but this is likely the most pervasive myth, affecting women and girls around the world in different ways. Periods are often associated with embarrassment and shame, and in some countries, girls are treated accordingly during their time of the month. If we start speaking up about periods, and normalizing them in conversations – in schools, at home, among friends – we can help to eliminate the stigma that makes women and girls feel ashamed of their period. Periods are not out of the ordinary, so stop treating them that way! Let’s do our part to change the cycle of shame – you can start by speaking up, and getting involved with these organizations committed to menstrual equity and destigmatization!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heavy menstrual bleeding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed July 05, 2017
- 7 Myths About Women’s Health. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/dont-buy-into-myths-about-womens-health/. Accessed October 1, 2018.
- Edozien, Leroy C. Hysterectomy or benign conditions. The BMJ. 2005 Jun 25; 330 (7506): 1457-1458. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC558440/. Accessed October 1, 2018.