This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
We are at the midpoint of National Women’s Health Week, which kicked off on Sunday with the observance of Mother’s Day. Carson City Health and Human Services is joining with healthcare providers across the country in the week-long event to bring awareness to women about important heath issues they face. Carson City Health and Human Services and Douglas County Community Health are pleased to offer a variety of women’s health services to our community, including reproductive health exams.
Regular PAP and pelvic exams can help you stay healthy by detecting health problems early. Although some people may believe PAP smears and pelvic exams to be the same thing, Tami Baumann, a nurse practitioner at the Douglas County clinic, wants women to know they are separate, and both play an important role in detecting abnormalities. “PAP smears are done as a screening for HPV and cervical cancer. They aren’t done every year, as the new recommendations are for women to get a PAP smear every 3 to 5 years. Pelvic exams, which should be done whenever issues and or problems arise, entail your healthcare provider manually checking your pelvic organs for abnormalities,” she said.
Another important service offered at both clinics is family planning services. Baumann calls this reproductive life planning. She elaborated by saying, “Healthcare providers need to make sure women are getting the help they need to have children when they want to and when they are at their healthiest.” Whether a woman is planning to have children or not, providing the tools to help her meet her reproductive goals is one important aspect of women’s health.
Often, women fall into a routine of taking care of others — children, spouses, an ailing friend or relative — and ignore their own well-being. National Women’s Health Week is an opportunity to shift the focus — if only a little bit — back onto ourselves. After all, when we are at our best and healthiest, we are better able to provide care for others as well. Make a commitment this week to be healthy for yourself and the ones you love. Schedule a health check-up. Carson City Health and Human Services’ Long Street and Douglas County Community Health clinic locations offer affordable women’s health services on a sliding fee scale and accept most forms of insurance.
For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.