Women’s healthcare has come a long way in the last few centuries. Doctors no longer diagnose women with “hysteria” when they exhibit things like chest pain, infertility, trouble swallowing, or simple emotions. Chainsaws are no longer used to cut out sections of a woman’s pelvis if she’s struggling to give birth vaginally. But although we are in a much better place with women’s health today compared to historical standards like these, there is still a long way to go.
Part of the problem is that old information and outdated myths still perpetuate about women’s reproductive and sexual health, which can often be confusing or even downright harmful. Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths that many men and women alike still believe today about women’s health and, more importantly, the truth behind them.
Myth: The more sex you have, the “looser” your vagina becomes.
One of the reasons the term “loose” is associated with women who have sex with a lot of partners is because of this harmful and incorrect idea that every time you have sex, your vagina becomes looser. While it’s true that your vaginal muscles do relax and loosen when you get aroused, they don’t stay that way. Everything goes right back to where it was when all is said and done.
Myth: Wearing a bra can give you breast cancer.
You may have heard the old wives’ tale that wearing a bra restricts your lymph system and can cause breast cancer. But it’s nothing more than an outdated misconception with zero evidence to back it up. If you’re concerned about breast cancer, simply keep up with your regular self-breast exams, gynecologist appointments, and mammograms to stay on top of prevention.
Myth: Vaginas are naturally dirty.
This common misconception is actually the exact opposite of the truth—your vagina has its own self-cleaning system! Vaginas do have a slight natural odor due to the natural bacteria that live there. Bu it is this balance of bacteria that keeps everything down there clean and healthy. So, don’t believe anything you hear about the need for specific feminine hygiene products or douching, as these can actually upset your natural pH balance.
Myth: It’s harder to get pregnant after being on birth control.
Many women who don’t know much about birth control fear that taking hormones can interfere with their fertility down the line, but this is false. You can get pregnant almost immediately after stopping most forms of birth control. Women can, on average, get pregnant about 1-3 months after they stop taking estrogen or progesterone birth control pills. After IUD removal, you can typically get pregnant after your next menstrual cycle.
Myth: If you have an STI, you’ll have symptoms.
If you think there’s no way you could have a sexually transmitted infection or disease without knowing it, think again. There are several STIs that commonly produce no symptoms in women, such as HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. This is why it’s important that you get STI/STD testing regularly, especially if you’re sexually active with multiple partners.
Myth: You only need to see a gynecologist if you’re pregnant or having a problem.
Just like your primary care doctor, you should be seeing your gynecologist once a year for a reproductive health checkup. These annual checkups are extremely important, as this is when your doctor will perform or refer you for annual exams and health screenings, such as Pap smears, pelvic exams, STD testing, and mammograms. Preventative screenings are the best tools available for the early detection of conditions that range from mild and uncomfortable to serious and cancerous. Plus, a gynecologist is also a resource for any sexual, reproductive, or general health concerns you might have.
If you’re looking for reliable, confidential, and compassionate women’s healthcare services in Rochester and surrounding WNY areas, South Avenue Women’s Services is happy to meet your needs. We offer a wide range of services to support women in making informed decisions about their health and future, including elective abortion, well-woman care, birth control options, ultrasounds, and more.
Give us a call at 585-271-3850 today to get the quality care you deserve!