The last time I, a 31 year old woman, received any education on how my body works was health education in 7th grade. The only thing I remember from that class was the day we watched the videos about sexually transmitted diseases. Guess who has been educating me on my body since? My friends who are science teachers and those who have had babies. Don't get me wrong, word of mouth education is great but it relies on 2 fallacies. 1: People ask for help 2: The information provided is fact.

  1. We don't teach women how their bodies work.

Did you know sperm can live in the Uterus for up to 5 days?! Do you know how estrogen works within your body? Do you know how eggs are fertilized to create a baby? Do you know why you should get a mammogram or how they work? Do you know there are alternatives to mammograms?Did you know you aren't supposed to pee anytime you laugh after having a baby? Do you know women have only had the ability to make their own healthcare decisions for X amount of years? Is it any surprise then, that women don't know how their bodies work or that they are left out of the health education conversation completely?

  1. We don't teach women how to advocate for their health care.

Personal example 1: Sex was painful for more than 10 years because I had an IUD and none of my gynecologists took me at my word that sex was painful for me. Once it was removed I found out sex isn't supposed to hurt. WTF?!

Personal example 2: It took weekly trips to see a PC for 3 months for a NP to send me to get bloodwork done, turns out my copper IUD was poisoning me. It got removed the next week and I went to a Mirena. WHY?! Why did no one take me seriously?

Why didn't I know how to advocate for my health? It took me becoming an advocate for a veteran to see how needed this is for everyone, but especially populations who haven't had access to proper health care. Did you know if a doctor refuses your request for a treatment you can request that the refusal be noted in your chart? Also, if you don't like a physician, you can fire them? You don't have to see someone who doesn't treat you with respect. We need to teach women to advocate for their healthcare.