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Self- Advocacy: How Women Can Advocate For Themselves

Diane Bruno

Being a woman is a wonderful experience. We are strong in ways that cannot be measured, we can figuratively move mountains and support those who need us most in times of crisis.    

We give so much to others that we often lose ourselves in the process and overlook that we need to put ourselves first to preserve our strength and be there for those we love.    

Advocating for ourselves, particularly in the realm of health and health care is essential if we are to live a life of wellness and purpose. It is easy to become overwhelmed and sacrifice our power when it comes to being our own health advocate. In our role as nurturers, it is often more comfortable to advocate for another than ourselves.    

As your health and wellness partner, Health Products For You would like to offer you some tips to make your health journey easier and wiser.    

You know your body – listen to it    

Women are truly in tune with their bodies. From the changes of adolescence through childbirth, menopause, and advancing age – we recognize when something seems out of sync and are sensitive to what our bodies are trying to communicate to us. It is paramount that we not only listen but take the steps to address those subtle and not-so-subtle changes.    

We must partner with healthcare professionals that are sensitive to a woman's needs and welcome a true partnership, not a hierarchy where the doctor is in charge.    

Symptoms you should never ignore   

Self- Advocacy: How Women Can Advocate For Themselves
Self- Advocacy: How Women Can Advocate For Themselves
Self- Advocacy: How Women Can Advocate For Themselves
 

When visiting with your healthcare provider    

Bring notes and take notes – White Coat Syndrome may not only affect blood pressure readings but may impact our thought process and sidetrack what we want to bring to the professional’s attention and what they have to say in return. Go in prepared with notes on what you are experiencing, how long it has been present, and why you suspect something may be amiss.    

Listen to what they have to say and be sure to write down important points and ask questions. Ask them to explain in layman's terms and slow down if there is something you do not understand or if they are speaking too quickly.    

It is important to “read” their reaction to your questions, how receptive they are to your concerns, are they trying to rush you through your appointment or dismiss your concerns – all of which are red flags to the kind of respect and care you can expect. Unfortunately, women’s health concerns have been dismissed in the past as being purely hormonal or an over-exaggeration of something minor. Be sure to stick to your guns and speak out if you are being dismissed.    

Advocating for yourself may seem uncomfortable for some, but there is help out there – Health Advocate offers help with navigating the healthcare system.    

Get a second opinion – Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion on any prescribed course of treatment or protocol your doctor may present to you. If you have an established positive relationship, you may feel comfortable with their diagnosis, and that is your prerogative. Definitely, in a serious situation, get that second opinion for confirmation and peace of mind!   

Don't hesitate to find another doctor   

Your health and wellness journey is in your hands. You are in control and should never sacrifice that dominance. If your healthcare provider is dismissive, not offering you the care you deserve, or playing a wait-and-see approach to what you consider important, find another health partner. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings, your health is far more important than anything else.    

When making a change to a new physician, be sure to get a copy of your file, readings, diagnosis, and notes. Make sure you have video files of all scans so your new physician can have an accurate understanding of who you are, what treatment options and medications you have been prescribed, and your overall history. This information is yours and your request cannot be denied.    

Male-dominated field    

The medical field has traditionally been a field dominated by men. That changes more each day with more women making their mark, especially in the fields of gynecology and dermatology. There is no shame in preferring to see a woman for your medical care. Women are often more in tune and more empathetic to what fellow women are experiencing and maybe less threatened by a true doctor-patient partnership. ALWAYS, do what feels right for you and if seeing a female health provider feels more comfortable for you go for it!  

Find a good support system  

As we journey through life and age, we must surround ourselves with a support system we can depend on. This is even more important if we are facing a particular health challenge. Having people who can listen, support, and empathize firsthand with what you are experiencing can be a lifesaver. Seek those support groups through your health organization to help you navigate your situation and find the answers and guidance you need.  

Remember, life is full of things that are outside our authority, but advocating for yourself is something within your control. Don’t sit back and let the experts lead the way. Be an active partner in your wellness journey every day and you will feel more empowered no matter what you may face!   

 

Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

 


HPFY Diane Bruno

Diane Bruno

LinkedIn Profile

 

Diane Bruno is the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You. She is the owner of Diane Bruno Freelance LLC. A blogger, freelance writer, digital content writer, funeral director, and former ...

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