Taking care of the female body
11 ways you can take charge of your health
Woman, know your basics
We, especially as women, are bombarded with ads of beauty products and supplements, articles about sex, female body trends. To not get lost in it all we should make sure we know our basics. How can we buy into ideas that our body needs this or that if we might not even know what it does and why. Whether you’re sexually active or not, whether you want kids one day or not, that shouldn’t determine whether you know your body or not.
First things first
1. Increase your frequency of health check-ups, including reproductive health
Do yourself a favor and do NOT skip your regular gynecologist appointments cause you’re too busy or you don’t seem to have an urgent health issue or questions.
x Make it a priority to make an appointment and then make it to the appointment.
x Have a pap smear test as often as recommended by your doctor!
Know your body, know your cycle
* This part of the post focuses on women’s menstrual cycle. However, every female body is different. Your journey is your own and that’s perfectly fine.
To know what your doctor is asking you and to actually know if you have any questions you got to know your body, specifically your cycle.
2. Educate yourself – book recommendations
For starters, let’s refresh our knowledge about the female body or discover some facts for the first time.
x My MUST READ recommendation is “Taking charge of your fertility” by Toni Weschler
“Are you unhappy with your current method of birth control? Or demoralized by your quest to have a baby? Do you experience confusing signs and symptoms at various times in your cycle, but are frustrated by a lack of simple explanations? This invaluable resource provides the answers to your questions while giving you amazing insights into your body.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility has helped literally hundreds of thousands of women avoid pregnancy naturally, maximize their chances of getting pregnant, or simply gain better control of their gynecological and sexual health.(…)”
Another book I recommend, this time all about womanhood is “Woman: an intimate geography” by Natalie Angier
“A Pulitzer Prize-winner offers a book about femaleness — in body and mind (…). With the clarity, insight, and sheer joy of language that has secured her reputation as one of the New York Times’s premier stylists, Natalie Angier lifts the veil of secrecy from that most enigmatic of evolutionary masterpieces, the female body, exploring the essence of what it means to be a woman. Angier’s thoughts on everything from organs to orgasm evince her famously playful originality, yet stand their ground in scientific fact. She also dives into hot topics such as menopause and evolutionary psychologists’ faddish views of “female nature,” creating a sparkling, fresh vision of womanhood. “ [Source]
3. Track your cycle
Track your cycle (and add some detailed information like your basal body temperature or ovulation test results). Know your breasts as well, do self-breast exams and note any changes. You can also use the fertility charts included in the “Taking charge of your fertility” book.
x App recommendation for tracking your cycle: Flo app
4. Give the menstrual cup a chance
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts you might be used to using pads and/or tampons. Unfortunately, they are not the most hygienic, most safe, and definitely not the most eco-friendly. Plus you have to purchase them over and over again, what a waste of your time and money.
Menstrual cups collect rather than absorb blood and therefore they don’t put you at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
There are multiple brands out there and the cups themselves come in various sizes, forms, and colors. To find the perfect one for you make sure to visit the brand’s websites and get all the details.
Popular brands are: The Diva Cup, Intimina, Saalt, Organicup, Mooncup, as well as the one I’ve personally used and been happy with Lady Cup.
x Best tip for pain-free removal: push the one side away from your urethra
5. Natural alternatives
Before jumping into taking pills that contain hormones to treat any imbalances you might want to look into more natural alternatives. And then of course discuss it with a professional before making a choice and randomly trying everything out.
Interesting to look into for regulating your period, ovulation, improving fertility:
6. Bras and breast health
I hope it’s a no-brainer but got to mention it nonetheless. Wear breathable fabrics that actually fit your body! Quality over quantity. Depending on your body and your preferences go bra-free or invest in two, three bras that will actually give you the support you need, keep your breasts healthy and make you feel comfortable. You don’t benefit from having a stack of randomly shaped and sized bras with bands pressing into your back and wires poking you.
Let’s talk about sex
7. Know the consequences
Know about the consequences of sex before you decide to even have it. I’m not just talking about birth control, STDs but about the emotional consequences. After orgasm we produce oxytocin which is a bonding hormone, the same one mothers get to bond with their babies. It might cloud your judgment and you don’t want to end up getting attached to a person you wouldn’t otherwise necessarily like. You deserve so much more!
8. Birth control
I will not talk about what I think about it and what options there are. I highly recommend you do your research and consult a professional to make a decision that best suits your body, needs, and values. What I want to stress tho is that whatever your choices may look like, remember they concern your body, so don’t make them blindly! Know your body first, know your options, and know their consequences.
x Podcast recommendation about birth control: Hormonal Birth Control – the good the bad and the ugly by The Well Women Podcast
“ Episode Description:
Are you on hormonal birth control ? Are you wondering how it works or side effects you should be aware of ? Does birth control impact future fertility ? Join Sam and Dr. Laura as they discuss everything you need to know about your hormonal birth control including how to come off of it & how to support your body if you choose to stay on it !”
9. Have an after-sex routine
If you are sexually active make sure to develop and stick to an after-sex routine, for your comfort and your health.
Whether you wanna shower or use wipes, do what works best for you, just always make sure to also go pee. This will help you prevent getting a UTI.
10. Think you might want to have kids one day?
If you think you might want kids one day, even if it’s not in the picture yet it won’t harm you to educate yourself on the female body, fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and so on. There are steps that you can or should take prior to trying to conceive, whether it’s treating hormonal imbalances, getting off birth control, regulating your weight, or making certain lifestyle changes.
You are not alone, talk to other females
11. Talk to other females
They might have some tips and hacks you’d benefit from. It’s also really great to be able to exchange experiences. By doing so you might find out that you’re not the only one struggling with a certain aspect of your femininity, your body image, a hormonal imbalance, infertility, or whatever it may be.
The moment we as women open up to each other and share, we’re able to build a support system and just understand that even oftentimes not ideal for us, what we’re going through is natural and part of our journey. Everyone wants to fit into the perfectly painted picture, where we look and work like the perfect statistics, but that’s not real life. Your cycle doesn’t have to be 28 days long, your ovulation won’t always happen on day 14, it doesn’t even have to happen every month. It’s important to know about the “general norms”, but then make sure to get to know and understand your own body’s “norm”.