Women and girls across NSW are encouraged to put their health first during (and after) Women’s Health Week (3-7 September 2018).

Acting Shadow Minister for Women Jenny Aitchison said women often put their health last in the family budget, particularly in regional areas where access to medical services is more limited. Women’s Health Centres, women’s doctors and nurses are an excellent resource where they are available. Screening programs and information campaigns are also vital, but even just talking to a close family member can have a positive impact on their health.

Ms Aitchison is encouraging young women and girls in particular to seek out medical advice from a trusted doctor, talk to family members and use trusted women’s health sites such as the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health website www.jeanhailes.org.au.

It’s estimated 60,000 women nationwide will participate in over 1,500 events during this week with the Women’s Health Week website www.womenshealthweek.com.au providing links to events and ongoing health information.

Ms Aitchison said the importance of talking with family members and friends dealing with similar health issues can’t be overlooked. Family history and genetics is becoming an increasingly important aspect of many women’s health issues, providing valuable information to women about their risks of experiencing particular health conditions. Those conversations can also help to shed light on what is “normal”, for example what is heavy menstrual bleeding, a condition that affects one in four women, and can be an important symptom of many easily treatable conditions.

In addition to participating in events, women and girls are encouraged to continue the celebration and raise awareness of the need to look after women’s health on social media by sharing socials at #MyHealthFirst and most importantly by keeping the conversation going using the hashtag #WomensHealthWeek.

Quotes attributable to Acting Shadow Minister for Women Jenny Aitchison

“Women are so busy in education and the world of work and caring, and it’s hard to know what’s not “normal”. Keeping open conversations between mums and daughters and other close female relatives can be a valuable way of recognising when medical advice is needed.

“Women have traditionally been seen as more motivated to look after their health than men, however in recent times I’ve seen many women suffering with long term treatable conditions because they just thought it was normal. As women get busier, they have less time to schedule appointments, and with increased costs of living, and less access to affordable health care, women’s health awareness appears to be suffering.

“It’s often hard to find good sources of information online or have the time to read them. While there is a place for using the internet to get information, it’s important to ensure that young women are seeking professional medical advice from their doctor, or women’s health centres and having regular age appropriate screening.

“While the Federal Government has rightly put more emphasis on tackling endometriosis, other women’s conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and breast health are less often discussed. Women are great at donating to medical causes, but it’s often just a bit too much effort to book in for a check up. Women’s Health Week is about encouraging women to take that time.”

#mediarelease #JeanHailes #womenshealthweek #myhealthfirst