5 Reasons Female Millennials Skip Their Annual Exam
STD’s, cancers, uterine fibroids, and other health concerns are not uncommon among women between the ages of 18 and 34. Also not uncommon among them is the idea that annual exams aren’t that important. But no matter what the popular opinion is, there are vital reasons for Gen Y’ers to schedule an appointment soon and to go back every year. Let’s take a look at 5 of the many reasons they might skip their annual exam. As a healthcare provider, you might also be able to find ways to overcome their objections.
Preventative Care Is Low Priority
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the motto for many Millennials. Although the saying possibly started out referring to more mundane situations in life, it has definitely extended into the realm of health care. Many young women are convinced that this thinking is solid. The following reminders might open their eyes to the importance of preventative care.
- They are often under the assumption that their bodies will let them know if there is an issue that requires a doctor’s visit. However, there are several common reproductive issues that might have few or no symptoms.
- Although it might seem comical, it is not easy to know what is ‘normal’ for your own body. Going to the doctor and having exams and verbal discussions regularly are sometimes the only way a woman discovers something is awry. It might be hard for millennials to accept this, but they can be convinced.
The Costs Are Too High
Life is expensive. We use the term “cost of living” so often that we no longer see it for what it is. We should take that term literally because it literally refers to the cost of being alive. More than that, it is the cost of staying alive. So health care is undeniably part of that cost. It can be hard to convey that message to a patient. They might consider the advice to be self-serving when it comes from a physician. Among other things, you can try passing on this information:
- Their health insurance organization likely includes an annual exam with no co-pay. Although many patients are aware of this fact regarding primary care visits, many do not know that annual gynecologic exams are generally considered wellness visits.
- Although there might be a co-pay for multiple visits in a calendar year, the costs of treating health problems early are usually significantly less than treating them if undetected and untreated sooner.
- The cost of treating an illness in advance stages includes not only co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. It includes more time away from places of employment and more expense in traveling to the doctor.
Perceptions And Misconceptions About Annual Exams
Unfortunately, women can be their own worst enemies. Among one another, they unwittingly spread misinformation about annual gynecologic exams. This simply perpetuates the existing problem among the masses. In addition to that, along with ‘popular opinion,’ many women avoid annual exams because of ‘facts’ they have sometimes concocted in their own minds. For this aspect of the problem, the best defense is a good offense. Meet young women on their own turfs. Whether through means of printed or online information, share the truth about gynecology at schools and universities. Additionally, include facts on your website, Facebook, and everywhere else women ages 18 to 34 frequent.
This could be based on perceptions and misconceptions, as addressed above. But quite often, it is not. A woman can be well-informed about annual gynecologic exams, her own anatomy, and the price of health care, but still be afraid to go. Two of the common reasons are (1) it will be the first time, and (2) the doctor might discover a health problem. Although fears have a variety of sources depending on a woman’s background, here are a few common assurances that can help.
- Although it is of an intimate part of the body, the exam is purely medical and not sexual in nature. Whether she is a virgin or very experienced, it is a doctor’s visit just like any other.
- Staff members will not pass judgment on patients because of sexual history, body shape, or anything else.
- Patients have the freedom to ask questions about the exams, possible treatment, or any other aspect of the current or subsequent visits.
- Although it can be quite scary to receive a negative medical diagnosis, finding out is a powerful reason to visit the doctor rather than stay away.
Doctor’s Visits Are Inconvenient
Expectant mothers, including those in the age bracket being discussed, are aware of the need to visit their obstetricians. They will care for their unborn child at the cost of any and all inconveniences. Beyond that though, young women can’t see any viable cause for making an appointment that causes them to miss work or cuts into recreation. However, awareness of the burdensome inconveniences of treating illnesses that could have been prevented is a powerful antidote to that type of reasoning. With your knowledge and experience, you are in a great position to help them make a realistic comparison and to see that an annual exam is much more convenient.
As a physician, you likely thought of many more reasons your younger patients are skipping their annual exams. To help reverse the trend, do your best to approach things from their point of view. You can successfully convince millennials that, through the many advances in health care, it is possible to get an annual exam that will help to prevent or treat issues safely, economically, and conveniently. During visits and by means of brochures, blogs, social media, and other outlets, be sure to have open conversations with your current patients and those you hope to obtain.
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