The medical research on women’s health has touched new heights in the previous years. Doctors and organizations have been working to raise awareness in society. Yet, it is surprising that despite all these efforts, common myths about women’s health still prevail in society.
These myths are based on phenomena like pregnancy scare, fertility, contraceptives, birth control, what certain symptoms express, and how they are treated. It is extremely important to address these myths as they can lead to anxiety in patients and cause them to make poor health choices. The misinformation prevailing in society due to these myths can affect their lifestyle as well. For example, there are countless myths in society about birth control methods and their side effects. Belief in these myths can lead to unwanted pregnancies, increased rate of abortions, and resulting health complications. The belief in these myths can also lead to increase in existing stigmatization, and lack of awareness in society and may prevent patients from seeking appropriate consultancy and treatment due to unjustified shame and fear of judgment.
To diminish the impact of these myths on society, it is crucial to address them. BillingFreedom has been working with the Top OBGYNS in the US for over 10 years. Our OBGYNs expressed a lot of concern over the doubts their patients have based on circulating myths. We decided to ask our top-notch OBGYNs about these myths and how much credibility they hold. Billing freedom is attempting to empower women to make informed decisions about their health care by asking our OBGYNs to debunk these myths.
Myth #1: Pap smears should be performed every year as they help detect ovarian cancer:
A lot of women walk into their OBGYN’s office to get a Pap smear test every six months or annually. The reason is the common myth that you should get pap smears annually to help you detect ovarian cancer. This myth was debunked by our OBYNs who said that recent research shows that Pap smears don’t need to be done annually. They are now recommended biannually for women below thirty and three years on longer intervals for women above thirty. You should ask your OBGYN to guide you about the next Pap smear. As the guidelines can vary with a patient’s history, age, risk, and previous test results.
This myth is also invalid as Pap smears help in detecting cervical cancer rather than ovarian cancer. The paranoia is more due to the fact that ovarian cancer does not have a simple screening test and this makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat it on time. However, pap smears are effective in detecting cervical cancer on time.
It is harmful for patients to get excessive screening tests as it results in higher possibility of detection of mild abnormalities. Most of these abnormalities are not significantly clinical and would resolve naturally over time. As a top-notch medical billing company for OB/GYN Practice in the US, we observed that OBGYNs billing and coding had denied claims of repeated Pap smear tests for patients. The insurance advises providers to not repeat unnecessary tests on patients unless there is some kind of abnormality.
Myth #2: Hormonal contraception leads to weight gain:
One of the most common myths in society about women’s health is that hormonal contraception leads to weight gain in women. This has caused women to avoid taking hormonal contraception and go for more invasive procedures like IUDs instead. The myths circulating hormonal contraception also increase risk of unplanned pregnancy, abortion rates and mental health issues like depression.
When we asked our OBGYNs about this, they debunked this myth as medical research shows that hormonal contraception like birth control pill, hormone-releasing contraceptive coils, the vaginal ring, and the contraceptive skin patch have no significant impact on body weight.
Weight gain in women is common over the years, even if they are not using any hormonal contraception. Other factors that may lead to weight gain in women are fluid retention, hormonal imbalance, lifestyle changes or unhealthy diet.
Myth #2: All vaginal discharge is abnormal
Vaginal discharge is a very common problem for women. Even though it has some stigma of being embarrassing and irritating, most of the time it is completely normal. Vaginal discharge can also be the sign of a healthy body, as it is the body’s attempt to keep the vaginal tube clean and moisturized. This is the body’s way of protecting a vagina from any external infections.
Vaginal discharge can be alarming only if the patient also suffers from burning sensations or itching in the vagina. A significant color (like yellow, or reddish brown) or a specific odor can also be alarming and might be an indicator to go visit your OBGYN. But most of the time it is just completely normal.
Myth #4: You can’t get pregnant on your period
A common concern for our OBGYNs was that women did not bother to use any contraceptive during their periods. Even though the chances of getting pregnant while being on your periods are low, it can still happen. The reason that this myth still persists in the society is because of the fact that the women rarely understand their own menstrual cycle. Your ovulation cycle has different phases. There is a phase where you are at your most fertile, and the chances of pregnancy are high.
There is typically no safe time of the month when you cannot get pregnant. So it is important to use contraceptives every time you have sex. The reason that women can get pregnant on their periods is that the sperm can survive in the vagina for up to five days and the ovulation cycle can fluctuate to occur earlier than expected. So there is always a slight chance of getting pregnant. Even though these cases are highly unlikely, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Myth #5: Douching leads to sanitation
Douching is a process where you squirt water upward in your vaginal tube with the help of a nozzle and it comes back out. This was heavily advertised by a few women hygiene brands that came up with douching products. However these products can contain substances like iodine, fragrance, antiseptic which can cause an infection in the vagina. Women who performed douching frequently had a higher risk of infections like vaginitis and mucosal irritation.
Our OBGYNs shook their heads on this technique and advised patients to stick to external cleaning of vagina only. They said it was important for women to understand that their vagina is self-cleaning. A vagina has a proper balance of bacteria and fluids which keeps it healthy and douching disrupts this natural balance.
It is time that we threw away these myths and trusted the professionals. Billing Freedom is outsourcing medical billing and coding services to Top OBGYNs in the US. This provides us with an in-depth observation in the medical issues faced by patients and providers alike. It is important that companies should use their platform and insights to raise awareness and play their role in improving our society.