My #1 ‘Down-There’ Health Tip
This takes only about 15 minutes, once a year, and it can save your life.
Sometimes it’s hard to talk about our lady parts. While the dick-swinging portion of the world can brag about the size of their junk, or mention which way their wobbly bits are leaning that day, the ladies usually tend to keep their privates, well… private.
But there comes a time when we all must talk about our nether regions in order to stay safe and healthy. I know this from experience. Not too long ago, I was diagnosed with – and beat – a rare form of breast cancer. Now I don’t mess around. I no longer have the attitude that ‘it can’t happen to me’, or ‘I’m too young to get cancer’.
We live in a world full of toxins, and the cancer rates for young people are skyrocketing. That’s why I never miss my cancer screenings. They’re, frankly, one of the most important things I put in my calendar because, while I learned a lot from beating cancer, I would say it’s a much better idea to catch cancer before it settles in.
Your healthcare practitioners agree. The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) and HealthyWomen (with support from Hologic, Inc.), believe that women should be tested for various forms of female-specific cancers, early and regularly. And, in honor of Cervical Health Awareness Month, HealthyWomen and NPWH are trying is trying to help women shed their shyness and start talking about their lady parts with the brilliantly-named campaign “Sentiments from the Stirrups.”
Now, we all know that a gynecology visit is not always the most pleasant experience. The doctors unceremoniously stick cold, metal devices up your hoo-ha and jiggle and expand them in ways that you didn’t know your vagina could handle… and not in a sexy way. You sit there in a silly hospital gown with your legs in the air, (not waving them like you just don’t care), trying –awkwardly– to make small-talk with the doctor who’s somehow managing to tell you about the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing lately, while peering intently into your cervix like a miner searching for gold. Needless to say, there are certainly a number of sentiments being felt from the stirrups!
For example, did you know that 80% of women keep their socks on while in the stirrups, and prefer to wear granny panties to the gyno instead of lingerie? I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to use my sexy panties for my gyno visit, even if the doctor is Dr. “McDreamy” Derek Shepherd in the flesh.
And if you’ve ever felt stupid when your doc tells you that you’ve got your gown on the wrong way, take solace in knowing that you’re in good company. 45% of women believe the gown should be worn to the front. That means 55% of women believe the gown should be worn open to the back. And, almost 20% believe they could turn it into a good look with the right accessories. Wow. Either that’s a lot of seriously nervous women, or those gowns are tres-unintuitive.
If you’re wondering if all this applies to you, experts recommend that women 21-29 receive regular Pap tests, and that women 30-65 receive Pap+HPV when getting screened for cervical cancer.
More than 12,000 women will learn they have cervical cancer this year, and more than 4,000 will die from this highly preventable disease, according to the CDC. Cervical cancer was once the-most-fatal cancer among women, but with the introduction of Pap screenings in the 1950s, cervical cancer death rates have plummeted 70%. That is incredible! And, if you get the vaccination against HPV, your chances of getting sick are even lower.
That’s why NPWH and HealthyWomen, with support from Hologic, Inc., want women to open up about their gyno experiences to spread awareness about cervical cancer. And I agree — it’s high time that we ladies start talking about what’s going on down where the sun don’t shine. How do we feel about having our feet up in the stirrups? What is the consensus on this hospital gown issue? And most importantly, how can we more effectively protect ourselves from cervical cancer? The first step is to talk about Pap+HPV at your next GYN exam. To learn more about cervical cancer screening, visit HealthyWomen.org and use hashtag #StirrupSentiments.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me, with support from Hologic. The opinions and text are all mine.