The evolution of advancements in women’s health has been an ongoing process. Since the Women’s Health Movement emerged during the 1960’s and 1970’s, females have been striving to improve innovations in the healthcare industry (1). From the creation of new federal policies to the development of various mobile health apps, it’s clear that although women’s healthcare has a ways to go But it is progressing over time! Of the countless reasons for which to be grateful, here are four advancements in women’s health to think about today…
More Accessible Birth Control Options
One of the major challenges for women during the 1980’s was gaining their reproductive rights. During this time, abortion was considered to be illegal in all states across the U.S, unless the birth jeopardized the mother’s life. The lives of many women were negatively impacted by this, causing some to wind up financially unstable, medically impaired, or unprepared to raise their child. Additionally, there were a limited amount of contraceptive methods available.
Needless to say, we’ve come a long way since then. Between legal adjustments and increase of contraceptives available, women are better able to effectively take control of their bodies and reduce their risk of becoming pregnant. Today, birth control pills, IUDs, and female condoms are readily accessible to women everywhere. Not only can they retrieve them from health-care providers and free clinics, but now, they can also turn to telemedicine services online. (Not sure what telemedicine means? Think electronic consultations with doctors, dermatologists and therapists. From phone to computer to apps, these services are becoming ubiquitous in our culture).
Having the option of these electronic consultations makes it easier for people to address their health concerns and obtain effective medication from a trusted physician (2). This is an especially practical direct-to-consumer solution for women and their reproductive health. It allows them to seek out medical advice and treatment no matter their circumstance. Whether they don’t have a mode of transportation, are medically uninsured, or short on time, telemedicine services offer an efficient, cost-effective way for women to receive their own birth control prescription online.
The Development of Menstrual Cycle Tracking Apps
The development of menstrual cycle tracking apps has also been an advancement for women’s health. Regardless of the distinctions that separate one app from another, most, if not all , serve the same purpose: to encourage women to monitor their periods month-to-month.
By downloading apps like Period Diary Pro and Clue Period & Cycle Tracker, women are able to keep a close record of the start and end dates of their menstrual cycles. It’s easy to appreciate the development of these apps because it allows women to oversee common health patterns in their menstrual cycle and detect any abnormalities they may have ahead of time (3).
Better Recognition of the Healing Properties Found in Foods
Another health advancement for women comes from food! Specifically, the healing properties found in many foods. Research shows that consuming certain foods actively repairs hormones, reduces inflammation, and improves gut health. And we have the media, articles and IG posts to tell us! For many women, this becomes harder with age and menopause. This causes them to experience health issues like fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, heightened PMS, bloating, and more. But, thanks to the improved recognition of these healing properties in certain foods, women are able to gather a deeper understanding of how their diet influences these issues. Although it’s true that everyone’s body reacts uniquely to different foods, most researchers will recommend following these dietary tips to maintain optimal health:
- To Repair Bodily Hormones – Eat foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and work to regulate ovulation and menstrual cycles (4). Some examples of this may include avocados, flax seeds, salmon, and pomegranate.
- To Reduce Inflammation – Avoid consuming too much sugar, alcohol, and processed snacks as they can manipulate hormones and trigger inflammation (5). Instead, stick to anti-inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, green vegetables, berries, and nuts.
- To Improve Gut Health – Try to reach for foods that help balance the microorganisms living in your digestive tract. Choosing fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut, or prebiotic-rich foods like garlic and whole grains will serve to support the gut’s microbiome. This is because these foods allow the body to become tolerant of its environmental conditions and can therefore reduce inflammatory and intestinal problems (6).
Improvements in Breast Cancer Screenings
Since breast cancer is the second deadliest cancer in women, mammogram screenings have become a top priority for aging females (7). Mammograms are low-dose x-rays of the breast tissue that’s used to help physicians identify early signs of breast cancer. While the importance of these screenings may seem obvious, mammograms weren’t always regarded as a critical component for women.
Prior to changes in the federal policies, the mammogram screening rates were significantly lower compared to today. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 1990, only half of women over the age of 50 reported getting a mammogram within the last two years. However, after the Mammography Quality Standards Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act, screening rates skyrocketed up to 73% (8). This is because the Mammography Quality Standards Act made all mammogram facilities FDA certified. The Affordable Care Act made the cost of of this breast cancer screening free to all women under 40. As a result, more women were able to seek medical coverage from various insurance companies.
Count Your Blessings
Advancements in women’s health have brought many benefits to females in the United States. The fact that treatments and options have become so convenient speaks to the importance of women’s issues. So, be sure to use the resources bestowed unto us ladies. And always, count your blessings.