Top Health Mistakes Women Make

8 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Own Health

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You consider yourself a smart woman. You see your gynecologist every year and perform your breast self-exam monthly. You try to watch what you eat and find time for exercise whenever possible. But are you really doing everything you could to be your healthiest? Here are eight common health mistakes that women make, and what to do instead.

1. Wearing Tight Clothing

Did you know that wearing nylon panties, tight-fitting jeans, pantyhose without a cotton panel or other garments that restrict airflow and hold in heat and moisture are contributing factors in yeast infections? Wearing cotton panties and avoiding very tight garments can lower your risk of vaginitis infections.

2. Skipping an Annual Physical

Many women are under the false impression that if they see their gynecologist for a Pap smear every few years and perform monthly breast self-exams, they have nothing else to worry about. However, all women need a comprehensive routine physical every one to two years to screen for other health conditions that may arise, including diabetes and heart disease (the leading cause of death among women). Remember: a clean bill of health only begins at your gynecologist's office.

3. Having Unprotected Sex

Forgetting protection, even once, can lead to sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms should be used every time you have sex, unless you are in a mutually monogamous long-term relationship, regardless of any other birth control method you may use. Remember: birth control pills and other forms of contraception do not protect against these diseases which can cause future reproductive health issues, as well as death in some cases.

4. Not Getting Enough Calcium

Chances are that you are not getting enough calcium in your diet. Calcium is not important only for growing kids, it is a crucial nutrient throughout a woman's life. Calcium has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of PMS and is necessary to protect yourself against the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis later in life. Adult women should aim to consume 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium, through food or supplements, every day, according to the National Institutes of Health.

5. Smoking Cigarettes

Did you know that smoking is the most preventable cause of death in this country? Sadly, more than 140,000 women die from smoking-related causes each year. We all know that smoking increases our risk of heart disease and cancer; however for women smoking can play a significant role in infertility, miscarriage and other reproductive health issues. Quitting smoking can reverse some of the damage and lead to better health.

6. Skimping on Sweat Sessions

Exercise can be the first thing to go when schedules get busy, but making exercise a priority is important. According to the Centers for Disease Control, just 30 minutes of exercise daily can significantly reduce your risk of disease. The benefits of regular exercise include a significant increase in life expectancy and improved overall health. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis, as well as reducing or improving the symptoms of menopause, PMS, diabetes, and numerous other conditions.

7. Overeating

Eating too much fast food or other restaurant meals is something many of us are guilty of. This can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, gallstones, diabetes and heart disease. The increase in the number of cases of gallstones, in women under 40, may well be attributed to the high fat content of too many high fat, large meals eaten by today's busy women.

8. Being Too Busy

Constantly being on the move and getting something done can be taxing. Don't forget to take time to give yourself a break. Find time to relax, read a book, take a warm bath or do something just for yourself. You'll be surprised at how much better you feel when you remember to take care of your own needs and relieve the stress of everyday life.

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Article Sources
  • National Institutes of Health. (2013, November 21). Office of Dietary Supplements - Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium.