Best of To Your Health 2018: Women's health

December 26, 2018 Providence Health Team

Women have special health considerations at all stages of life.

Mental and emotional health is an important aspect of a woman’s overall wellness.

Sometimes, health issues are skin deep.

In today's world, women balance so many different roles that it can be hard to carve out the necessary time to take care of themselves. The catch is that if women neglect their health, that can lead to problems that may prevent them from keeping up with all of their obligations and responsibilities. All women need to be empowered advocates for their own health and wellness, and to do that it is important to be informed. The To Your Health blog featured many enlightening stories focused on women's health in 2018; here are some of the most popular topics:

Pregnancy is always a source of interest for our readers, and that was no different in 2018. Expectant first-time moms could learn about five of the most common misconceptions about pregnancy (you don't really need to eat for two) as well as new advancements in labor and delivery, such as cutting-edge fetal heart monitoring systems. Once baby arrives, breastfeeding becomes a big concern. Our blog post on the best foods for breastfeeding gave readers the scoop on how women could meet the nutritional needs of their babies as well as themselves, and why carrots and sweet potatoes are a must. Recognizing that there are so many questions surrounding pregnancy, as well as parenting, Providence St. Joseph Health was proud to launch the Circle by Providence app, which offers health care provider-approved advice, tools and resources for raising healthy kids.

Cancer is a concern for both men and women; however, women can face special challenges when it comes to the disease. For instance, thyroid cancer affects more women than men. The good news is that it can be easily treatable, so women who are proactive about having their doctor do regular physical exams of their necks have a good chance of early detection and successful treatment. Breast cancer can be an overwhelming diagnosis, which is why solid medical information is important to help see things clearly. This year, we discussed how to choose the right surgeon after a breast cancer diagnosis, as well as how to treat lymphedema of the breast, which can happen as a result of breast cancer.

As women strive to age well, they have specific health care considerations. For instance, any woman who's entered menopause has wondered how to cope with the dreaded hot flashes. This year, we examined the role hormone therapy may play in controlling them and how women can determine if this treatment is right for them. Another less well-known side effect of menopause is an increased risk of urinary tract infections in older women. Our story on this topic gives readers the symptoms they should know about in order to seek immediate treatment.

Physical health is only one aspect of a woman's well-being and there continues to be growing awareness of why it's crucial to understand and treat mental and emotional health issues. This can start at a young age for women who suffer low self-esteem because they are bombarded with unattainable images in the media that they feel they have to emulate. Instead of chasing unrealistic perfection, they should aim for body positivity, which can lead to healthy self-acceptance. And speaking of loving who you are, To Your Health is fortunate to feature the insights of blogger Sarah Sapora. Her honest reflections have helped encourage women to not fear failure, pursue activities that promote self-care and understand that weight loss is a lifelong journey.

Not all health care stories are more than skin deep. In fact, the skin care products you use can have an effect on your health. Before purchasing your next skin care cream or cleanser, read about the best ingredients for your skin type, as well as which ingredients to avoid. Even eyelash extensions can have an impact if you don't have an experienced technician applying them.

Finally, the Me Too movement continued to gain steam, and news headlines, in America this year. In response, Providence St. Joseph Health leadership affirmed its commitment to a safe and positive workplace where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. That commitment to female empowerment also extends to this blog, where we pledge to continue highlighting women's health issues in the years to come.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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