Women encouraged to seek help from doctors — not just friends
Special to The Union
For many women, taking care of their own health takes a backseat to caring for those around them. By nature, they may be busy raising children, caring for a spouse, or tending to the needs of friends, family or work obligations, and ignore the signs and symptoms that their body is trying to tell them.
This is especially true in the case of gynecological issues. Whether it is undiagnosed pelvic pain, complications from menopause, or worsening incontinence, many women seek information from friends or online sources, rather than schedule an appointment with their doctor. But seeing a doctor when something isn’t quite right can help women improve their quality of life and may be the first step toward a crucial diagnosis.
“Seeing a physician can help provide early detection of a disease and, in many cases, help rule out health concerns and provide ease of mind,” said Dr. Leonard Leon, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at Sierra Women’s Health Associates.
Some women may be hesitant to visit their doctor for something they consider a small concern. One example of this is talking with their doctor about quality of life issues that arise from normal phases of life like menopause or the topic of stress incontinence, which is urine leakage caused by pressure on the bladder brought on by sneezing, laughing, etc.
To help encourage women to take control of their health, Dignity Health is hosting a series of free women’s health seminars, including one in Grass Valley led by Leon. The seminar will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Alta Sierra Country Club and will give women a chance to get their questions answered and learn about treatment options for common gynecological problems. Healthy appetizers and beverages will be available during the event.
Leon, who received his Medical Degree from UC Davis School of Medicine and performed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at UC Irvine Medical Center, has been in practice for 30 years — 23 of which have been here in Grass Valley. He will be presenting information about menopause, menstrual disorders (excessive bleeding, fibroids, etc.), minimally invasive procedures (laparoscopy and hysteroscopy), as well as the signs, symptoms, procedures and treatments for stress incontinence.
Leon will discuss hysterectomy, one of the most common surgical procedures for women. Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of a woman’s uterus and may also involve removal of surrounding structures, such as ovaries or fallopian tubes.
More than half a million women a year undergo a hysterectomy. In fact, about one-third of all women will have a hysterectomy by age 60. There are several reasons this treatment is called for, including severe endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse or cervical or uterine cancer.
When asked what specific things women should be concerned about regarding their health, Leon recommended that women be screened regularly for cervical cancer using one of the cervical cancer screening tests. He said that there are different recommendations for how often they should be done, based on age, and that a woman can always speak to her gynecologist or primary care provider to find out the best schedule. This is important for detecting cancer early on, when treatment is more effective.
“In addition, women should also see a doctor if they are experiencing abnormal bleeding or abdominal aches and pains, some of which shouldn’t be ignored. As women age they can indicate more serious health concerns,” Leon added.
To register for the Women’s Health event, visit the hospital website at dignityhealth.org/women or call 916-851-2444.
All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.
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