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5 Women's Health Myths Debunked!

"A Pap smear can detect ovarian cancer."

Pap smears are not a reliable way to detect ovarian cancer. In fact, there is no standard screening test for ovarian cancer. If you experience common symptoms such as: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, and urinary urgency-or have a family history, your doctor will test your blood and administer a transvaginal ultrasound.

"A doctor can tell if a woman is a virgin."

Even when using a 10-fold magnification, doctors can not accurately sort virgins from the sexually-active, several studies have reported. It is not as simple as looking for a hole in the hymen because, well there is always a hole in the hymen.

"Some people think the hymen seals off the vagina [until virginity is lost], but that is not true," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman of Indiana University and Carroll's co-author of "Don't Swallow Your Gum." In the rare cases when it is sealed, period blood builds in the uterus and causes several medical problems, she said.

"Women reach their sexual peak at 30."

The specific age that a woman reaches her sexual peak varies individually. While women in their late  20s/early 30s may be more comfortable with their bodies than younger women, people change their sexual response at all stages of their lives.

"A woman cant get pregnant during her period."

While a woman is unlikely to conceive during menstruation, " nothing, when it comes to pregnancy, is impossible," said Aaron of Indiana University and co-author of Don't Swallow Your Gums: Myths, Half-truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health" (St. Martins Griffin, 2009).

Once inside a woman, sperm  can wait for an egg for up to a week. Ovulation can occur soon after, or even during, the bleeding phase of a woman's menstrual cycle, giving patient sperm the chance to get lucky. The timing method of birth control doesn't work well, Carroll said, agreeing that couples who practice it are often called: parents.

"You only need to worry about breast cancer if you are older than 40."

While its true that most women who get breast cancer are older than 40, about 5% of all cases occur in women younger than 40, according to Susan G Komen for the Cure - which means early detection is key for all ages, especially for women who may have a mutation of the gene associated with breast cancer, and those with a family history.

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