On the special occasion of National Women's Check-up Day, we [Women Fitness] joined Beth Battaglino, President & CEO at HealthyWomen.org, the National Women's Health Resource Center.
Lets hear more from her in our conversation:
Women Fitness: What is the importance of National Women's Check-up Day?
Beth Battaglino: National Women's Check-up Day is part of National Women's Health week and takes place on the second Monday in May. It was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to motivate women across the country to make regular appointments, take control of their health, and discuss any recent concerns with their healthcare professional.
Women Fitness: What is the purpose of National Women's Check-up Day?
Beth Battaglino: National Women's Checkup Day reminds women to maintain regular checkups in order to improve their overall health and make informed health choices for themselves and their families, which is a core element of HealthyWomen's mission as well.
Women Fitness: What are the common activities of National Women's Check-up Day?
Beth Battaglino: The most important thing is for women to schedule a check-up if they haven't had one recently. Regular check-ups are important so women can discuss their health habits, family history, and also raise any concerns they may have with their healthcare professional. Women can use this time to discuss anything that may be on their mind.
Women Fitness: So, how can National Women's Check-up Day help with something like endometriosis?
Beth Battaglino: Women who suspect they may be suffering from endometriosis symptoms should speak with their healthcare professional, and National Women's Check-up Day empowers women to schedule an appointment to do so. Before an appointment, women should arm themselves with necessary information. Gather your medical records and write down your symptoms. Websites such as MeinEndo.com offer helpful tools including an endometriosis checklist and symptom tracker, which can help you log how much pain you experience on an average day and how often; if there's a time of day when symptoms are worse or better; if specific activities worsen or relieve the pain; or if the pain comes and goes.
Women Fitness: Women sometimes find it difficult to discuss health concerns with their doctor. Why is this?
Beth Battaglino: There can sometimes be a communication breakdown between healthcare providers and patients. Women may not necessarily understand symptoms they are experiencing, and this makes it harder to discuss them with their HCP. Or, healthcare providers may not understand the true impact symptoms have on their patients' lives.
An example of this is in endometriosis. HealthyWomen recently conducted a survey, "What Do You Know About Endometriosis?" Among 1,211 women over the age of 18 and 352 healthcare professionals. Less than a third of women respondents correctly recognized all the painful symptoms of endometriosis, but among 219 women respondents who identified themselves as diagnosed with endometriosis, 42% were told by their HCPs that their pain was simply "part of being a woman," and 47% had their symptoms described by HCPs as "normal."
The survey results indicate that education is needed to help women identify all the painful symptoms of endometriosis and address them with a healthcare professional. Professionals need to be more aware of evaluating and treating endometriosis and support proper communication of symptoms with their patients.
Women Fitness: As the President & CEO at HealthyWomen.org, how do you plan to create women's health awareness on this day?
Beth Battaglino: HealthyWomen's mission is to educate and empower women to make informed health choices for themselves and their families and National Women's Check-up Day is supportive of our efforts. I plan to help by getting the word out there so more women understand why it's important to schedule regular check-ups and take charge of their health.
Lastly, what are the regular tests that women must get done every month? Also, why is maintaining regular check-ups so important for Women's Health?
Recommended preventative screening tests depend on the individual and many other factors. The important thing is for women to make an appointment, and discuss with their healthcare professional what is best for them.