Now that 2015 has settled in, you’ve had some time to think about your resolutions. If you’re like me, you’ll remain in a crazed getting-stuff-done mode for a solid month before forgetting completely about your healthy new choices the second a new season of Black Mirror hits Netflix. (Seriously, it’s an amazing show.) But don’t lose that momentum! January happens to be Cervical Health Awareness Month, so now is the perfect time to focus on you.
Why Cervical Health?
The whole idea behind Cervical Health Awareness Month is to draw attention to women’s health and the need to keep up with your regular wellness visits. So if you’re overdue for a gyno visit, now is the time to make one. These are pretty important for a lot of reasons, and two of the most important ones related to Cervical Health Awareness Month are to prevent HPV and cervical cancer.
You’ve probably heard a lot about HPV in recent years, especially with the advent of the HPV vaccine. HPV is a super common sexually transmitted disease that is a major cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans have HPV, and many don’t even know it. HPV is often symptomless, so those who have it often don’t know until they’re tested for cervical cancer.
Sometimes HPV will result in genital warts, but for the most part it’s hard to detect without a proper test.
What About Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is mostly caused by HPV. It happens when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. Without treatment, it can spread and affect the uterus, lymph nodes and other pelvic organs. Some of the symptoms of cervical cancer include painful sex, vaginal bleeding and discharge. The good news is that it’s totally treatable if it’s found early – so all the more reason to get tested for HPV sooner rather than later.
What Can I Do?
Make that gyno appointment – STAT! Considering that healthcare reform covers most wellness visits and cervical cancer screenings, you have no excuse not to. The HPV vaccine is another option you may want to discuss with your doctor. Finally, you can encourage your friends to do the same. The more people who are screened, the less chance that HPV has to spread even more.
Are you scheduling your wellness appointment for Cervical Health Awareness Month? Let us know in the comments!