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August 1st is #NationalGirlfriendsDay: This Calls For Mimosas and Mammograms

August 1st is #NationalGirlfriendsDay: This Calls For Mimosas and Mammograms

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“So, this might be TMI, but…” is the standard disclaimer for a frank conversation a weird rash, a mole that might be a freckle, a lump that feels lumpier, or a tuft of hair in a place no woman wants to find hair. It goes without saying the ugly truth about a woman’s health issues usually flows as freely as Chardonnay on a girl’s night out when she’s with her friends, but many women are reluctant to raise their concerns when they’re face-to-face with an actual physician snapping on a pair of latex gloves. In a world that still largely regards “women’s health” as being synonymous with “period problems,” these candid conversations shared among girlfriends at brunch or waiting in line for the bathroom at a bar may seem like the stuff of a Redbox movie you regret renting, but they can actually play a significant role in women’s lives.

Outside one’s sacrosanct circle of girlfriends—the trusted ones who have held your hair back after too much tequila and hexed every employer and J. Crew bro who’s ever turned you down—talking about your health is a duty fraught with sweaty palms and an urge to flee. In the doctor’s exam room on that crinkly wax paper table cover wearing nothing more than a hospital gown and socks that don’t actually match in the light of day, every woman has experienced the same tense moment. After the doc scribbles something on your chart that you assume could only be, “Didn’t shave for this appointment,” the final click of a pen warns that it’s time for the question you’ve been dreading: “Have you had any problems lately?”

Initially, you think back to last week when you were in traffic and some jerk with more than five bumper stickers barged into your lane, prompting a Gone Girl-esque trance in which you imagined following him home and becoming his family’s nanny through a series of unlikely circumstances. Over time you’d strategically ruin his life little by little, removing the bumper stickers from his car one-by-one as his success and happiness go down the drain. You just want to confirm with a professional if that extent of hypothetical sociopathic revenge is an appropriate response to a reckless lane changer.

But then you remember how your period was doing weird things a few months ago. Or that headache last week that felt like electric eels were hammering your eyeballs from inside your brain. Or that day your nipple was super itchy. Or the diet you’ve been following lately that’s making you feel kind of woozy sometimes. Even with all these unresolved worries, our standard answer to the problem question is some version of, “Nooooope! Not that I can think of.”

For every one woman with no qualms about discussing everything from her labia to Lyme disease with her doctor, there are several more women who’d rather put their faith in Google and Dr. Oz rather than have an uncomfortable conversation with their physician. Every woman should strive to feel as comfortable with her doctor as her hair stylist or her attorney, but if you’re seeing same doctor who delivered you and diagnosed your chicken pox and for some reason is also the pastor at your church and your mechanic, it might feel a little weird talking with him or her about vaginal discharge. Your best friends may not be medical professionals, but as women we owe it to each other to be informed about what’s normal and what requires medical intervention ASAP and pass that information along the next time one of our former MySpace Top 8 ladies complain of a yeast infectionfluenza sinus strep throat pulled muscleitis.

When you’re celebrating #NationalGirlfriendsDay with drinks and a bootleg copy of Magic Mike XXL, take a second to check in and make sure your friends are taking care of themselves. Don’t assume that because everyone in your squad is posting fire selfies on Instagram or trying Paleo for the third time that health isn’t worth discussing. Ask if your sister’s crazy hours at work are still affecting her blood pressure. Trade pap smear stories. Dish on how your stay active between Netflix binges and happy hours. Find out your friend is handling her anxiety. We’re always moving so fast–buying the Oreos we “forgot,” attempting a fancy DIY Pinterest manicure, debating between Valencia and Lo-Fi, budgeting for our next vacation, working overtime to score that promotion–and health too often falls to the bottom of our I Should Maybe Think About That list. We owe it to ourselves and each other (and our cats, significant others, kids, dying plants, etc.) to be aware of how we’re taking care of ourselves.

 

To help you get the conversation going, Oscar Health Insurance Company has consolidated all the checkups and immunizations that should be on your radar, categorized by age, in an infographic for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oscar is all about their members really taking control of their health and offers their members a variety of services through their app to make sure they don’t wait until the last minute to get checked out. If you’re interested in learning more about Oscar (that’s the health insurance company, not the garbage-dwelling grouch), you can check our their individual health insurance plans in New York and New Jersey. In the meantime, use their checklist to see if you’re taking all the necessary health precautions, and be a good girlfriend on #NationalGirlfriendsDay and pass it along to the ladies in your life. I’m confident mimosas and mammograms could totally become a thing.

Oscar Women's Checkups

 

Katie Hoffman

Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. She enjoys leftovers, lunges, and laughs.

7 Comments

  1. zsazsakitty August 1, 2015

    This was a great post – I think us females also need to do better at making sure our GFs are doing taking care of their emotional health as well – get rid of all the cattiness and call a sister up once in a while to encourage and cheer her up! Great post.

    1. Katie August 11, 2015

      Couldn’t agree more!

  2. The Social Daydreamer August 1, 2015

    I really enjoyed this post! The Gone Girl reference was great, haha! Honestly, I have never discussed my health with a female other than my doctor, and I think that’s mostly because I don’t really think that any of my female friends are comfortable talking about it. I wish this wasn’t the case though. It would be really nice to talk openly about these issues with the ladies. Thanks for the post!

    1. Katie August 11, 2015

      I totally agree. It’s weird being the one who has to break the ice when it comes to this stuff, but I think it’s so worth it to have a group that you can discuss this stuff with!

  3. eemilyyross August 4, 2015

    Thanks for this! So relatable and good to know!

    1. Katie August 11, 2015

      I agree! Thanks. 🙂

  4. Kooky Chic August 27, 2015

    A great post,, thanks

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