Women utilize the health care system more than men. Women have had to be proactive about their health needs when conventional medicine leaves them at the door step. When women feel well, they feel in control and their concerns heard.
So why is it then that men continue to be more highly represented in health research, seen more quickly in emergency room visits, and taken more seriously by their health care providers than women? Yes…these aspects are improving but we still have quite a way to go to receive the care we al deserve.
Women’s health issues are not just about women. It’s about the environment, children’s health, global health, and men’s health. Chronic disease such as thyroid dysfunction, digestive issues, anxiety, obesity, and autoimmune disorders are on the rise and seen not just in women but in everyone. Some may feel these conditions are female related but more and more men and children are falling prey to these concerns as well.
If we look at infertility, for example, we have been seeing for years now a rise in the infertility rate. Women have searched for answers and have taken the health and wellness into their own hands by eating a clean diet, exercising, stress reduction, removal of environmental toxins in our beauty products and purchasing organic, non-GMO foods, and more. Recently though, studies show that male sperm count has dropped by approximately 50%!! This is not just women’s health at stake but men’s health too.
Health and wellness is all about making the patient/client feel cared for, represented, and empowered in the medical world. Sadly this has not always been found by women in search for a medical provider. Women have been searching and now beginning to find answers in the integrative and functional medicine world as they take responsibility for their own self-care, treatment regimes, and health outcomes.
Health care providers owe it to their patients/clients in providing as much information as possible so that an educated decision on health care issues can be made. Also, women (and men alike) need to take their own responsibility and search far and wide for resources and empathetic health care providers who will listen, learn and share in the fight for informed healthcare decisions. Bridging the gap between conventional and alternative health care will improve overall care not just for women but children and men alike.
Collaboration between patient and health care provider requires respect for each other’s knowledge and experience. Acknowledgement of the patient living in the body experiencing the symptoms and the health care provider’s medical training creates this collaborative arrangement.
When meeting with your health care provider go prepared by keeping a food and lifestyle journal consisting of symptoms (headache, fatigue, indigestion, insomnia, brain fog, etc.), the foods you eat and what you drink, your exercise routine, sleep patterns, elimination patterns, and anything else you can think of that may be of importance. Often times in doing this, we see patterns that are helpful indications of what may be going on and what to do next. This takes time and patience but is so well worth all the valuable information.
Patients/clients need to take responsibility for their health and healthcare. Be an active participant with your health care provider. Take charge by doing your homework and researching to the best of your capabilities to find answers. Provide information on major health events that have occurred in your life, medications you have been prescribed, past procedures, details on environment (both emotional and physical), as all of these pieces may be a part of your puzzle. No piece of information should be overlooked.
Lastly, listen to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, doesn’t sound right, just seems off…don’t hesitate to share your feelings and ask for clarification. This is your body and health. Don’t be shy. Take care of you!!