At a young age, women have already been taught how to self-examine their breasts for any changes that could indicate the first signs of breast cancer. But other than the breasts, there are plenty of other checks women can do on their own to help make sure their body is in top condition.
Make sure you perform these self-examinations regularly so you do not have to wait for your annual visit to your doctor before knowing something is wrong with your body. Here are five checks you should regularly do at home:
Check your moles or beauty marks
Don’t take your moles, freckles, or beauty marks for granted. Remember to check these for any changes since the tiniest bit of change could already be a sign of skin cancer.
Physicians recommend visiting a dermatologist every year to get screened for skin cancer. And if you have a family history of skin cancer, you may be required to get screened more frequently.
When you’re at home, you can follow the mnemonic ABCDE check:
- Asymmetry: Check that your moles are even
- Border irregularity: Look for any that doesn’t come in a round dot shape
- Color: Look for ones that have changed in color
- Diameter: The size of the mole/mark should not be larger than 6mm or the tip os your pencil’s eraser
- Evolving: Check if it has changed in size, shape, or elevation
Check if your hair has thinned quickly
Hair thinning may be an indication of aging but it’s also a symptom of thyroid abnormality. Aside from this, it could also be brought about by vitamin A or iron deficiency. So if you find that your hair starts thinning relatively quickly, a visit to your doctor is a must. It is easy and quick to test for any of these deficiencies, which is why you should not be shy about getting checked.
Check your urine color
Even though it may sound gross, it’s important that you keep an eye out on the color of your urine as it can tell you whether or not you are hydrated. Your pee’s colors mean different things such as:
- Clear: You are overhydrated
- Pale Yellow: You are sufficiently hydrated (#hydrationgoals)
- Bright Yellow: Your body is excreting the riboflavin it doesn’t need
- Brownish-Yellow: This is the darkest end of the “Normal” spectrum; Your pee is extra concentrated
- Brown: Presence of myoglobin in your urine
- Greenish-Blue or Orange: Common with UTI treatments
- Pink or Red: Occurs when you eat a lot of beets, if you haven’t it could be a sign of UTI or urinary stones
Document your monthly period
It’s important that you keep a journal of your monthly period so you know a lot about your reproductive health. This is particularly important if you are already planning to get pregnant. By keeping a monthly log of your period, your doctor will be able to determine if you have an abnormality in your period that needs to be addressed quickly.
Check your lady parts regularly
Lastly, it’s important that you regularly check the skin on your vulva and vagina so you know if there are things that shouldn’t be there. Using a handheld mirror, you can self-examine for the following:
- Bumps: May be caused by HPV
- White/Pink Itchy or Burning Patches: May be caused by an inflammatory skin condition
- New or changing moles: Potentially melanoma
By knowing how to self-examine your body, you become more familiar with it every day. You get to understand what your body needs and what has changed over time. These self-examine tips will help you keep up to date with your health so you no longer have to wait for your next visit to your doctor.
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