Health Advice Every College Girl Should Read [#NationalWomensHealthWeek]

It’s National Women’s Health Week, and with that, a perfect time to talk about some health-related topics that may not always be at the center of conversation – or even on our radar, for that matter! While some aspects of our health are well discussed among friends – periods, sex, our spin class that completely kicked our butt – others may be neglected, but that doesn’t mean we never have questions about them. So with feminine health the focus of the week, let’s talk about some health-related issues that every college girl should know about!  Preventative Pro-activity This sounds like a stupid cliche, but its the best way to describe a great approach to your health, and the mindset you should have when considering the following suggestions! Be proactive! If you can prevent health issues, or minimize your risk of a health issue, or catch a health issue before it gets worse, why wouldn’t you? Perform breast self-exams, use a condom, apply sun screen! Just a few minutes of your time can help you stay healthy! Don’t be afraid to go to the doctor with an issue! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or for clarification! Listen to you body – you know it best! Annual Exams Getting a yearly check-up is extremely important for your health. Gynecologists, or even primary care physicians need to see you yearly to keep up with any changes in your health. And doctors routine testing may make you aware of changes you hadn’t even realized! As college students, it can be difficult to plan exams around busy schedules, and even more difficult when you attend school away from home, and away from your doctor. The best way to ensure you see your doctor each year is to make an appointment during your college breaks! And when the receptionists ask when you want to come in next, have an idea of when you are available! This may be difficult, but for the most part, if you’re going back to school, you should have an idea of when you’ll be home! Schedule appointments around holidays, like Christmas or Thanksgiving! You’ll be home and your doctor should be available at some point during your break! But make these appointments early, because they’ll fill up! Ask Questions  This point needs to be emphasized! Too many people don’t ask the right questions regarding the results to annual tests, the use and function of prescriptions, or even general questions about their health and weight! Do you know your blood pressure? Do you know if your prescription will affect your birth control’s effectiveness? Do you know if you’re at a healthy weight for your body and your lifestyle? Doctors are there to answer these questions, so you don’t have to look to WebMD and self-diagnose yourself with some obscure disease. Take agency in your health and ask questions! You’ll be happy you did when you can answer your friend’s questions! Birth Control  Condoms, The Pill, Plan B, everyone knows about birth control! But do we use it right? Do we know how it works, or when it doesn’t work?  Or what to do if something goes wrong? If we did, every panic-filled conversation about  periods and pregnancy that we’ve witnessed ourselves or seen in a movie would be inaccurate! And since they’re definitely not, I’d say we’ve got some stuff we can learn! First off, ask your gyno! She’s the best source of advice (way better than Yahoo Answers) and it’s actually her job! Secondly, use it as directed! For birth control pills, don’t cheat the system and try skipping your period – because, hypothetically, if I did and didn’t get my period for a few inactive pills, I would probably freak out…just saying. The pills are designed to work a very specific way, and they’re so effective because they’re also designed to be taken correctly. Ideally, take it at the same time every day, with an alarm on your phone as a reminder – “I Just Had Sex” is a classic, but put it on vibrate in the library (oops). If you’ve ever read that long, tiny-fonted folded pamphlet that comes with every pill pack, it actually explains what to do if you miss pills! For condoms, use them right, and make sure they don’t break, which can definitely happen, especially if they aren’t the right size for your man! And Plan B — consulting a doctor to be sure you need it is also a good decision! Diet and Exercise  Did you know that burning 700 calories through daily exercise and cutting 700 calories you consume each day will actually give you the same weight-loss results? This is because calories are calories, and if you reduce the calories in or increase the calories burned, you’ll essentially have the same effect on your weight. This is why exercise and diet are a great combination! It is, however, easier to cut 700 calories than to perform 700 calories worth of work, this is why people argue that diet is more effective than exercise! But regardless, staying active and eating healthy does more than just maintain your weight, or reduce it, it also keeps your brain functioning properly, your mood and perspective healthy, improve your heart health and decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases! Sleep  Speaking of brain function, sleep is probably the most ignored aspect of health, especially when it comes to college students. Not only does sleep help with memory, it improves our overall cognitive function when we get a good night’s sleep, and prepares us for the next day! It also helps us maintain certain physiological functions that effect all other aspects of our health, like our period, helps prevent chronic disease and cancer, and also prevents metal disorders like depression! And there you have it! A ton of stuff you can do to help improve your health, and better understand what affects it! Celebrate National Women’s Health Week, and pass this information to the healthy women in your life!