8 Ways College Women Can Protect Their Health

From Drugs.com - September 11, 2017

8 Ways College Women Can Protect Their Health

MONDAY, Sept. 11, 2017 -- The start of college means it's time for young women to take charge of their health.

Dr. Aparna Sridhar, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles, offers several tips in a university news release.

Know your health status. Talk to your parents and your doctor to make sure you are up-to-date with health screenings, shots and prescriptions. Ask about the status of allergies and other health issues.

Guard against HPV. Sridhar said college students should make sure they have been immunized for human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. "It can cause cervical cancer but can be prevented by the HPV vaccination and screening with pap smears," she said.

Know how to get health care on campus. Find out the location of the closest health center that accepts your insurance.

Keep track of menstrual cycles. Being aware of your cycle will allow you to provide specifics to doctors if there's an issue. "When I ask my patients when their last period was, the first thing they do is open their cellphone. Many women are tracking their cycles through apps now," Sridhar said. You might also want to track your mood, cramps and birth control use.

Protect yourself during sex. Consider condom use to guard against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Prevent unplanned pregnancies by using birth control and emergency contraception after unprotected sex.

Do not tolerate sexual abuse or violence. One in four undergraduate women is sexually assaulted on campus. Consult the campus website or your dorm's resident assistant for help reporting an assault.


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