Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week from September 4-8, serves as a timely reminder for women to prioritise themselves and check in with their emotional and physical health. At Family Doctors Plus, we’re proud to take part in this year’s theme “Grow Your Knowledge”, which is about encouraging women to make informed decisions about their health with practical information that is based on evidence .
The Jean Hailes organisation will feature new resources and information on hormones, PCOS, menopause, cervical screening self-collection, heart health, persistent pelvic pain, and nutrition. You can sign up for this year’s free content here, and each day during Health Week you’ll receive emails with tips, resources, and recipes. Information will cover women’s health checks, pelvic pain and how to cope, PMS to perimenopause and beyond, women’s health in the workplace and healthier eating for better living. These are excellent resources but please remember to make an appointment with your GP if you have concerns.
Meanwhile, here are some women’s health topics you might like to think about.
Do you know the difference between perimenopause and menopause?
Perimenopause is the time period before menopause. You may experience symptoms of menopause but your periods still occur. Periods cease when women reach menopause. Usually this happens between 45 and 55 but it can happen earlier. Perimenopause and menopause are normal stages of life, however some women develop significant symptoms and need help navigating through these stages. Symptoms of both these conditions can include anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, dry skin, vaginal dryness and/or hot flushes. A small number of women may experience symptoms into their 80s. There is help available, including treatment that can help relieve symptoms. Most GPs are experienced in helping patients manage perimenopause and menopause symptoms. If you have concerns please book an appointment with your GP to discuss these. It is also very important to focus on your general health-healthy food, exercise and emotional wellbeing.
Do you do self-checks to detect early signs of disease?
See your doctor yearly for a health check-up, or more often if you have a family history of illness or cancer. At home, it’s important to perform check-ins with your health so you can pick up on any signs of disease or take preventative steps. For example, notice the colour of your teeth, any changes in your breasts eg lumps or skin changes, what your weight is, changes in your bowel motions, etc.
- Did you know approximately 1 in 7 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime? That’s why it’s important to speak with your doctor about breast screening and do monthly self breast exams.
Do you schedule your routine checks?
A woman’s risk increases with age and regular breast screens are the best way to detect cancer early. A breast screening mammogram is recommended for all women aged 50 to 74. If you’re between 40 and 49 years, or 75 years and older, you can book a free screening mammogram. Talk to your doctor and read BreastScreen and you for more information. It is also important you book to see your GP as soon as possible if you notice any changes in your breasts such as changes in the skin, lumps, discharge or have any concerns.
The National Cervical Screening Program reduces illness and death from cervical cancer and is available for people aged 25 to 74 years old. More information can be found on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
Heart disease is another major cause of death in women over the age of 40. Regular exercise, healthy food, smoking cessation are known to be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk. You may also need to check your blood sugar and cholesterol levels as they can contribute to an increase in heart disease risk. Your doctor can help you assess your cardiovascular risk factors and discuss a management plan to reduce your risk.
Visit www.womenshealthweek.com.au for more information about this year’s Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week.
If you’d like to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health or have any concerns at any time, please feel free to book an appointment for a discussion with a GP or visiting specialists at Family Doctors Plus.