Functional Medicine & Wellness

5 Reasons Women Don’t Prioritize Their Own Health

Amidst all of life’s demands, women often find themselves juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. As a result, it’s become common for women to prioritize the needs of others over their own healthcare. This unfortunate trend stems from a combination of societal expectations, cultural norms, systemic barriers, and personal factors that collectively contribute to the tendency of putting healthcare last on the list of priorities. 

Did you know? Nearly half of the women in the United States skipped a preventative healthcare service in the last 12 months. 

Source: Alliance for Women’s Health and Prevention

Over the years, we’ve helped many of our patients overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving optimal health. The first step is identifying what changes need to be made in order to set yourself up for success. Here are five significant challenges women face when trying to focus on their overall well-being.

  1. The Caregiver Role

Women are often the primary caregivers for children, elderly parents, or family members with health needs. The demands of caregiving can be all-consuming, leaving little time or energy for women to prioritize their own health and well-being. The selfless nature of many women in this role can lead them to neglect their own health concerns, postponing doctor’s appointments or preventive screenings in favor of attending to the needs of others.

  1. Societal Expectations

Women’s healthcare habits and behaviors are often shaped by societal gender norms. From a young age, girls are often socialized to prioritize nurturing, caretaking, and putting others’ needs before their own. This conditioning can carry into adulthood, where women may feel a sense of guilt or selfishness when considering taking time for their own healthcare needs. The pressure to excel in multiple roles—whether as mothers, partners, professionals, or community members—can overshadow the importance of self-care.

  1. Financial Pressures

Women are more likely to face economic challenges such as wage gaps, limited access to affordable healthcare coverage, and higher out-of-pocket healthcare costs. These financial constraints can make seeking medical care, filling prescriptions, or accessing preventive services seem like luxury expenses — especially when prioritizing immediate household needs or family expenses.

  1. Time Constraints

Balancing work, family responsibilities, household chores, and social commitments leaves little room in the day for personal healthcare appointments or self-care activities. Women may find it challenging to schedule and prioritize regular check-ups, screenings, or follow-up visits. Oftentimes, this leads to gaps in preventive care and delayed treatment for health concerns.

80% of women surveyed admitted that doing something for themselves would make them feel relaxed and refreshed. Yet, alarmingly, a third of the women surveyed spent 30 minutes or fewer minutes a day doing nurturing activities just for themselves.

Source: National Self-Nurture Survey

  1. Lack of Healthcare Education

Limited awareness can contribute to women putting their health last. Without adequate knowledge about preventive measures, symptoms to watch for, or available healthcare resources, women may not recognize the importance of early intervention or regular check-ups. Educational initiatives that empower women with information about their health and rights can play a crucial role in overcoming this barrier.

In addition to the issues mentioned above, some communities may have taboos or misconceptions surrounding certain health issues, making women hesitant to seek medical attention or to discuss their concerns openly. Stigma surrounding mental health, reproductive health, or certain female-prevalent chronic conditions can make it more difficult for women to get the appropriate care and support they need.

It’s healthy for women to put themselves first.

The tendency for women to put their healthcare last is a complex interplay of internal and external factors. Recognizing and addressing these barriers requires fostering a culture that values women’s health and well-being. And that starts by encouraging, supporting and educating women to prioritize their own healthcare needs. This will allow them to better fulfill their roles as caregivers, professionals, and active participants in their own health journey. Making the decision to work with Omnia Health is a great way to start putting your well-being first.




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