National Women’s Health Week isn’t just for celebrating women, but also for highlighting their unique medical needs – and the work that needs to be done to make sure they have equal, high-quality and affordable health care.
There are simple things you can do to make sure you’re staying on top of your overall health. It’s important to find an affirming healthcare provider and to be comfortable with them so you can ask questions and voice concerns, especially when it comes to preventative care and sexual health.
FIND THE RIGHT PROVIDER FOR YOU
The first step to taking charge of your overall health is to find a provider and schedule an appointment. If you’re located in the North Texas area, consider scheduling a consultation with Resource Center’s LGBTQIA+s Health. Our primary care providers are trained to deal with the unique needs of LGBTQIA+ people as well as the unique needs of women in a judgment-free environment. In addition to the Center’s LGBTQIA+ Health, there are many other women-focused providers in North Texas, including Legacy Women’s Health, Dallas Women’s Healthcare Specialist, Women’s Health Alliance, and Planned Parenthood.
ASK ABOUT PREVENTION
Take Preventive Measures to Stay Healthy
A Pap test is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women. Although cervical cancer is no longer a leading cause of death in women in the U.S you should still get screened at least once every three years. Detecting abnormal cells early with a Pap test is the first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer
Mammograms and Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the U.S. with black women dying at a disproportionate rate from breast cancer compared to white women. Women ages 50-75 should get a mammogram at least every two years. Women under 50 should talk to their doctor. Along with mammograms, a self-exam can also help you catch breast cancer
OWN YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH
For too long there has been a stigma associated with women who like sex. The truth is, all genders should be able to enjoy sex without judgement. Slut-shaming is counterproductive and only contributes to stigma. Instead, ALL women should feel empowered to own their sexual health.
Know Your Status
The first step in taking charge of your sexual health is to make sure you know your status. People who have sex with people that have penises are at an elevated risk of contracting HIV, as well as those who use needles to inject drugs. However, don’t stop there. Be sure to know your status with all the other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), too. Resource Center’s Nelson-Tebedo location offers FREE HIV and Syphilis testing, regardless of healthcare coverage, along with low-cost Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes, and Hepatitis testing in an affirming and judgment-free environment. If you believe your sexual behavior might be particularly high-risk you should ask your doctor, nurse or tester about HIV preventative options. Condoms and dental dams can also help prevent the transmission of STIs. To schedule an appointment or find out how to get free condoms and dental dams, call Nelson-Tebedo at 214-528-2336.
PRIORITIZE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Covid-19 has only exacerbated the mental health crisis in America. The uncertainty of the future, the lack of access to medical care and the economic strain on many families due to Covid-19 have taken its toll. In addition, many women don’t have access to mental health resources or emotional support at work or in their families.
Take a Mental Health Day
Take a day off for stress relief and burnout prevention. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Taking a mental health day might not solve all the problems that lead to burnout, but it can give you a much-needed break to pause, regroup, and come back with a fresh perspective.
Talk to a Professional
Speaking to a non-biased, third party like a counselor or therapist can have a profound positive impact on your mental health. At Resource Center, our Behavioral Health services offer a range of outpatient mental health and substance use services for youth, adults, seniors, and families. In an effort to make services available to everyone, the program offers flexible appointments with LGBTQIA+-affirmative staff.
Remember, taking charge of your overall health starts with YOU.