Women's Health

Reminders on Taking Care -- Looking & Feeling Better

What helps women feel better…

  • Feeling like we are doing a “good job” at taking care of our family, our home, our job and ourselves
  • Healthy lifestyle            
    • adequate rest,
    • exercise,
    • diet,
    • stress reduction,
    • Healthy choices

What helps us look better…

  • Healthy choices
  • Don’t smoke
    • Smoke = wrinkles, heart and lung disease, etc…
  • Use sunscreen
    • Excessive sun exposure = wrinkles and cancer
  • Alcohol in moderation
    • Heavy drinking = liver disease, bad skin, malnutrition
  • Adequate sleep
    • Sleep disorders = obesity, heart and lung disease, diabetes
  • Exercise in moderation
    • Not enough = miss out on benefits
    • Compulsive exercise = injuries, anorexia, mental health problems
  • Adequate nutrition, healthy choices in moderation
    • Too much food and the wrong types = obesity, diabetes
    • Anorexia and bulimia = bad hair, bad skin, bad teeth, bad bones
       (not a pretty sight!)
  • Good medical care of ongoing conditions
  • Stress reduction

What you should tell your doctor…

  • Main reason for scheduling the appointment
  • Other questions and concerns
  • Current prescriptions and any supplements or over the counter medications
  • Current medical problems and diagnoses
  • Previous physicians, hospitalizations, and surgeries
  • Family history
  • Allergies to medications
  • What symptoms are bothering at this time.
  • Any recent travel, changes in your life or living situation occupation, educations, habits (smoking, alcohol, etc), lifestyle choices

The best way to keep track of this information

  • Keep a notebook or three ring binder containing the following information:
    • Medications
    • Dates of surgeries, hospitalizations, tests and results
    • Allergies
    • Family history
    • Names, addresses, phone numbers of physicians who have provided care, performed tests and operations
    • Dates of immunizations
    • Travel history
  • Keep copies of op report, test results, and consultation reports
  • Do this for your children, your spouse, your parents and yourself.

Health screening for men and women

  • Physical exam
    • every 1-5 years depending on risk factors
  • Blood pressure check
    • every health contact or at least every 2 years
  • Cholesterol/lipid testing
    • baseline at age 20
    • every 5 years if normal
  • Immunizations
  • Skin exam
  • Rectal exam
    • beginning at age 40
  • Stool occult testing
    • yearly at age 50
  • Colonoscopy
    • baseline at age 50
    • earlier if family history for colon cancer


  • Pap and pelvic exam yearly
  • Breast exam
  • Mammogram
    • baseline at age 40
    • yearly thereafter


  • Prostate exam yearly

Special considerations

  • Consider family history
  • Occupation history
  • Personal habits and risk factors
    • Drug or alcohol use
    • Sexual preference
    • HIV testing
    • STD Testing
      • Chlamydia,
      • GC,
      • Hepatitis B and C

Things to Think About For the Appointment

If your or your spouse is the patient…

  • Why are you going to the doctor?
    • Screening exam symptoms
    • Ongoing medical condition
      • Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease
      • Risk factors for chronic disease
  • Who is at the appointment?
    • Alone
    • With spouse
    • Other family members or friends

Special considerations if your child is the patient…

  • New immunizations
  • Social pressures
    • Drugs and alcohol
    • School performance
    • Athletic performance
    • Dating and sex
    • Physical and sexual assault
      • Bullying, school violence
      • Date rape and sexual predators

If your parent is the patient…

  • Help your parent get the most out of the appointment
    • Bring all medications, not just a list
    • If possible, bring copies of medical records from other physicians to the appointment
  • Confidentiality issues
  • What are your parent’s concerns or problems?
  • What are your concerns for your parent?


Ask your doctor about:

  • Referral or additional evaluations or testing
  • Consultation or second opinion
  • Cardiologist, pulmonologist, neurologist, orthopedist, oncologist, orthopedist
  • Diabetic educators
  • Cardiac or pulmonary rehab
  • Physical therapy
  • Education handouts
  • Any other questions you still have

Chronic disease management

  • Diabetes
    • includes recommendations about blood sugar and A1c goals, cholesterol levels, vascular disease screening, eye exams, etc…
  • Pulmonary disease
    • management of asthma and COPD
    • Sleep apnea
    • C pap and risk factor modification
  • Management of special conditions such as MS, stroke prevention, risk factor modification for heart disease and stroke
  • Risk factor management for HIV, STD
  • Treatment guidelines and goals
  • Pain management

Suggested Reading

Mary Pipher, psychologist

  • Reviving Ophelia
  • Another Country

Jerome Groopman, physician

  • Second Opinions
  • Anatomy of Hope

Pamela Peek, physician

  • Fighting Fat after Forty

Larry Dossey, physician

  • Healing Words
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