Are you the no-show patient?
Is there an empty chair at your doctor’s surgery where you should be sitting instead?
Have you found yourself inundated with letters, text messages and phone calls from your healthcare clinic, all reminding you of that overdue check-up?
Do you feel that medical appointments now pop up with the same irritating ardour as grey hairs – with attending one appointment usually resulting in invites to half a dozen more?
And all of this occurring amongst the ever-present ‘to do’ list and fervour of day-to-day life?
We hear you and we understand.
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Even if you aspire to having good health and you’d be horrified to think your doctor viewed you as unmotivated, it is not uncommon to unintentionally become the ‘no-show’ patient.
Life is busy and working hours are long.
There are commitments to uphold and people we don’t wish to let down.
Even when we know a medical appointment is important or we would genuinely find it helpful to run something by a healthcare specialist, pinning down the time to go to a medical appointment can be notably challenging.
This is especially true if appointments are only offered during conventional office hours and things need to be juggled at work in-order to make yourself available.
Factor in the inevitable competition for parking when you arrive at a clinic, unpredictable wait times as well as not being fully sure how you’ll feel afterwards and it all adds up to make ticking a healthcare appointment off your ‘to do’ list harder still.
As a result, it can be a surprisingly long time before we have that long-intended chat with our doctor or get the results of a pending medical test.
For all our good intentions when it comes to health, what does it take for us to put ourselves first? And why does it matter when it comes to women’s health?
Why Do We Delay Our Healthcare Appointments?
There are numerous reasons why we delay seeing a healthcare specialist. Which one applies to you?
Let’s face it. Sometimes, we just don’t want to go.
Amongst all else that’s going on, attending a medical appointment isn’t exactly the most exciting nor appealing of activities.
Being in your specialist’s waiting room usually requires notifying your employer of the pending appointment, the travel and expense of getting there, and navigating your way through a complex maze of wards and corridors.
Not to mention enduring a frustrating wait whilst seated amongst strangers, trying to explain your complicated symptoms to a doctor who is usually pushed for time, undergoing medical tests that leave you feeling exhausted and then, on the way home, wondering why the appointment didn’t perhaps go better.
Combined with plenty else demanding our attention elsewhere, it’s both tempting and perfectly understandable for us to use our hectic schedule to avoid going in the first place. Is it a case of excuses, excuses?
Ignorance Is Bliss
Granted, medicine is an incredibly impressive and fascinating field. But medicine exists for a reason – it is utilised when something goes physically wrong with us, whether that be an infection, an allergy or a physiological response to injury.
Much like when our car goes in for safety checks at the garage, when medical tests are performed, we’re effectively inviting in the possibility that we’re going to be told something is wrong or that we could be doing better. Does anyone really like to be told either?
Sometimes, our fear of what might be wrong stops us from seeing a healthcare specialist. In other cases, an individual can become burnt out by attending relentless clinics and taking repetitive medical advice.
This is common when someone has managed a challenging medical condition long-term or they feel the medical advice they’re being given is patronizing, no longer applicable or unhelpful. Sometimes, we just don’t want to know. Is it a case of ignorance is bliss?
Up Against It?
If you’re a real go-getter or you’re always the first to help others, being prompted to attend your annual check-up can seriously throw an unwelcome spanner in the works.
With lengthy work commitments, promises and favours to friends and family, voluntary commitments on our down-time and an endless push to do better, it’s no wonder you’re rarely seen at the healthcare clinic!
While being ambitious and mindful of other people’s needs is entirely commendable, it is important to remember that you can only pour for others if you first stop to fill the jug.
Just like your career objectives, family plans and commitments within the community, you too are important. Skipping healthcare appointments is, in the long-run, doing yourself an injustice. Is it a case of needing to cut some strings and reduce being constantly up against it?
Sometimes we don’t even know there is a healthcare problem that needs addressed.
Do you know what’s normal when it comes to having a period, every weird and wonderful symptom of pregnancy, how menstrual hormones affect mood as well as countless other processes within the body, when menopause is supposed to happen or how going to the bathroom too often or too little can actually stem from an unhappy pelvis and troubled reproductive system?
Rather than ignoring what’s going on, we’re sometimes not attuned to there being an issue present in the first place. Could it be a lack of awareness?
Lacking Confidence/Sense Of Shame
Even as modern-day women, who are busy gaining ever-increasing confidence in forging careers for ourselves while showing the lads how it’s done, there’s nothing quite like having to address a women’s health issue within a medical clinic to test even almighty nerves of steel.
From having to explain unusual pain in our nether-regions to embarrassing discharges and erratic bleeding to an inability to enjoy intercourse, boy isn’t it a challenge to get the words out in person in the clinic!
Combined with undressing from the waist down to having to embrace the stirrups and show everyone what lurks down there, getting checked out on a women’s health problem usually involves a fair amount of leaving your pride at the door. Is it a lack of confidence or a sense of shame that’s stopping you from booking that much-needed appointment?
The Degradation Of Health - Time Waits For No Woman
Whether we like it or not, time waits for no woman. Equally, burying one’s head in the sand does not usually make a problem go away and, when it comes to our health, a medical problem will happily wreak havoc and even progress while we play the cards of ‘ignorance is bliss’ or ‘I’m too busy’.
We hate to tell you but a medical condition possesses neither feelings nor regard for your state of mind, your commitments or overflowing schedule.
Frustratingly, within our clinic at Focus Osteopathy, we see a great many women who’ve allowed their schedule to derail their desire to seek out medical advice.
Often, by the time patients arrive for their initial consultation, what had started out as a minor niggle some time ago has become a painful, overwhelming and thoroughly unwelcome medical condition. We can’t help but think ‘if only you’d come to us sooner!’.
While we understand the many difficulties and distractions that prevent patients from seeking medical advice, we would always encourage someone to speak with their healthcare specialist as soon as possible.
This is because a small health issue – which could be remedied quickly and with minimal intervention – can quickly snowball into something much more problematic and chronic if it is ignored.
Make Yourself A Priority – Visit Us At Focus Osteopathy
To possess and retain optimal health, it is crucial to make yourself as much of a priority as your ‘to do’ list.
This is particularly true when it comes to women’s health issues. Thanks to the complexity of female physiology as well as the various reproductive processes that are unique to women, there is significant potential over a woman’s lifetime for niggling health issues or an unexpected injury to occur.
Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are all entirely natural processes but they are also sure-fire candidates for leaving you in need of either medical advice or assistance.
The pelvic floor can weaken, nerves can incur damage and surprising aches and pains may develop as new physical challenges arise and reproductive hormones fluctuate.
In the absence of treatment, many women’s health problems will persist including pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), endometriosis and urinary incontinence. In pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain (PGP), symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), round ligament pain, carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) and rib pain will all usually get progressively worse.
Here at Focus Osteopathy, our therapists can work on improving your muscle function and pelvic position, advise on workplace ergonomics and optimal posture, teach exercise and relaxation techniques and most importantly, work with you to maintain your health and wellbeing.
We use hands-on techniques to mobilize joints, soothe soft tissues and regain flexibility throughout the body.
Isn’t it time to send that women’s health problem packing? If you can put yourself first and find a little time to see us, we are ready and willing to help you with a wide variety of women’s health issues here at Focus Osteopathy.