Top Health Facts for Women Debunked

If you still believe swallowed chewing gum sticks around in your belly for 7 years, you need to read on. Huffington Post debunks some of the most common healthy news we have believed to be fact. Get in the know about fertility, cancer, menopause, and even sexy time in the hot tub.

The Myth: Every woman's fertility plummets after age 35

sperm and egg fertility

The facts: Women have been led to believe that our eggs are stamped with an expiration date: midnight on our 35th birthday. But a recent study headed by Anne Steiner, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, found that among 38- and 39-year-olds who had been pregnant before, 80 percent got pregnant naturally within six months. This doesn't mean that the quality and quantity of eggs doesn't decline with age (experts still maintain that by age 40, a woman's chance of getting pregnant is less than 5 percent per cycle). But the decline happens at such variable rates that many healthy women will still have a stockpile of viable eggs late into their 30s. So investigate (by talking to your gynecologist), before dismissing your chances.

The Myth: With no family history of breast cancer, you're pretty much in the clear.

woman checking breast for breast cancer

The facts: About 10 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a mother or sister who also had it, or some other strong family connection. Another 10 percent have a family member a little further down the family tree. But about 80 percent have no family history at all. The reason your doctor is so interested in your relatives is because we still don't have a better way to identify which women are at the highest risk for the disease, says Debbie Saslow, PhD, the director of breast and gynecologic cancer for the American Cancer Society. The only other risk factor that even comes close is age, she says, which is why it's important to keep up with those mammograms.

The Myth: If you've got hot flashes, you've got menopause

woman in menopause having a hot flash

The facts: Hot flashes, as you've no doubt heard, plague 85 percent of women going through menopause. But these sudden drench-your-blouse sessions can also be triggered by anxiety and stress. Other, less common causes include hormone imbalances, thyroid disorders and infections. So if you're under 40 (less than 1 percent of women hit menopause before this age) and are experiencing symptoms of menopause but don't have any reason to think you're going through "the change," it may be due to something else. Either way, talk to your doctor to figure out what's going on.


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