Myths about women’s health may be putting your wellness at risk. Finding the truth is the first step toward taking charge of your medical care and achieving optimal health for years to come.
Despite the best educational efforts of medical professionals across Arkansas, myths about women’s health still exist. Believing misleading facts about your body can take a toll on your health, causing you to ignore self-care or even delay crucial treatments at a women’s health clinic in Little Rock. Pay close attention to the following information so you can debunk myths that commonly appear in conversations about pregnancy, breast care, and more.
1. “Breastfeeding Is a Reliable Form of Birth Control.”
Although breastfeeding suppresses ovulation, you can still become pregnant again if you have unprotected sex. Breastfeeding your child releases a cascade of hormones from the pituitary gland that actively reduces the chance of ovulation. However, your body still may release eggs from time to time, especially if you supplement feedings with formula, rice cereal, or baby food.
2. “New Forms of Birth Control Carry Higher Risks.”
As with all medications, birth control goes through multiple rounds of testing before it is released to the general public. Therefore, new forms of birth control are just as safe as other methods that have been around for decades. All birth control options carry a reasonable amount of risk that you should discuss with women’s health experts in Little Rock.
3. “Skipping Your Period With Birth Control Is Harmful.”
Birth control pills typically include one week of placebo pills that allow you to experience a normal menstrual cycle. However, it is possible to skip a period by beginning a new series of pills instead of taking the placebos. While this practice will not increase your risk of side effects or complications, you should still talk to your doctor before skipping your period.
4. “Vaginal Discharge Is Always a Bad Sign.”
Clear or milky white vaginal discharge is completely normal and may change in amount and consistency throughout your cycle. Your vagina constantly cleans itself out by expelling old cells and mucus. If the discharge varies from its normal consistency or color, however, you may need a checkup at a Little Rock women’s health clinic to rule out an infection.
5. “Mammograms Are the Only Procedure You Need for Breast Health.”
A mammogram only provides one data point about the health of your breast tissue. According to Cancer.gov, up to 20% of breast cancers are missed by mammograms, so doctors often use ultrasounds and other imaging equipment to diagnose lumps and detect breast cancer in its early stages.
6. “A Second Pregnancy Is Just Like the First.”
Every pregnancy follows its own path from conception to childbirth. Your doctor may consider past pregnancy experiences when monitoring your progress, but changes in fertility, onset of symptoms, and risks for complications can all occur after a woman’s first child.
7. “Women’s Bladders Are Smaller Than Men’s.”
Despite overall differences in the sizes of men’s and women’s bodies, women tend to have the same size bladder as men. The difference in capacity and frequency of urination actually relates to the position of the bladder and adjacent organs, not the bladder’s size.
8. “The Vagina Is Permanently Stretched During Childbirth.”
The vaginal canal stretches out during childbirth and gradually returns to its normal size during recovery. If women receive stitches for tearing during childbirth, the vaginal opening may even be smaller than its previous size after the recovery period.
9. “Routine Checkups Are Unnecessary After Childbearing Years.”
Breast exams, pap smears, and other routine examinations should continue well after your childbearing years. These health screenings enable the early detection of infections, cancer, and other women’s health conditions as you age.
10. “Menopause Symptoms Do Not Require Treatment.”
If menopause symptoms cause discomfort that interrupts your daily activities, you should seek treatment at a women’s health clinic in Little Rock. Your doctor can address hot flashes, urinary incontinence, and vaginal dryness with approved treatments, such as hormone therapy.
If you want to schedule a women’s health checkup in Little Rock, contact The Woman’s Clinic at 501-664-4131 to make an appointment with a member of our experienced, compassionate staff.