Women: 5 things our experts want you to know

Women's health

From working outside the home to managing households and caring for children, women frequently prioritize the needs of others over their own health and well-being. You’re not alone. However, neglecting your health on a regular and ongoing basis ultimately hinders your ability to care for others effectively. 

So what can you do? We asked experts across the Northside Hospital system to share their insights on the importance of self-care. Here's what they said. 

  1. “Women are so powerful in so many ways — they can go from an executive to a nurse or a doctor, teacher, real estate agent and the list goes on and on,” said gynecologic surgeon Dr. Rama Rao. “At home, you are the mother, wife, dog sitter, teacher, cleaner, organizer, psychologist, and a GURU for the family unit. If you break or don’t care for yourself all of the above will fail and fall!”

    Dr. Rao suggests taking 10 minutes in your day to think about yourself and your goals—today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and beyond.

    “What will sustain YOU,” she added. “It’s you that keeps this ship from sinking; take care of your mental, physical and emotional YOU.” 

  2. “Every woman should undergo risk stratification between ages 25-30,” said Dr. Laurel Barnes, breast surgeon, “so that she knows based on individualized factors like family history when she should start breast cancer screening.” 

  3. “Prioritize your rest and sleep habits,” said cardiologist Dr. Faresa Z. Weragoda. “I aim for 6-8 hours of sleep every night. 

    “Always stay hydrated – lots of water throughout the day,” Dr. Weragoda added. “It may seem simple, but I notice a difference when I don’t drink enough water.” 

    Dr. Weragoda also urges getting some fresh air daily. “I try to go for a walk outside every day, even if it’s a short walk. The fresh air helps to clear my mind,” she said. 

  4. Sleep expert Dr. Abul Matin also recommends getting a good night’s sleep.

    He says women perceive and report their sleep problems differently than men, which leads to delays in diagnosing and treating women for sleep disorders.

    “Sleep problems should not be taken lightly and can affect women’s health and quality of life,” Dr. Matin said. “To improve your sleep, start with better sleep hygiene — limit your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake and eat a well-balanced diet.

    “Engage in regular exercise, follow a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends; make your bedroom environment ideal for sleep,” he added. “Finally, address any mood disorders like depression and anxiety, which are commonly associated with sleep disorders.” 

  5. “As women, it’s super important to take a step back and truly be intentional about having good mental health hygiene,” said Nikeisha Whatley-León, the system’s director of behavioral health. “As we wear many hats as women, we can only succeed when we’re well (mentally and physically).

    “Let’s normalize stepping back and having a mental health check-in,” Whatley-Leon added. “As women, let’s show the world that it’s ok to not be ok and it’s ok to get help when it’s needed!

    “Be the example.” 

It’s essential to make your own health a priority – and schedule annual visits with your primary care provider. 

Need a provider? Search our online directory to find a provider near you. 


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