Health Concerns for Women Travellers

Staying Healthy

Not all travel books deal with uniquely female health needs. You can augment what you read with the experienced advice of other women travellers. It’s a good idea to carry your doctor’s phone and fax numbers as well as copies of prescriptions for medication you might require along the way. You won’t always be able to eat properly. Consider carrying multivitamins to supplement your diet.

Your regular brand of contraceptive pill may not be available at your destination. Take enough with you to last the whole trip. Major stomach upsets (diarrhea or vomiting) cause your body to lose its ability to absorb the contraceptive pill. It’s wise to use condoms to guard against unwanted pregnancy.

You may want to pack a supply of condoms to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases, too. When travelling to developing countries, carry a supply of tampons and sanitary napkins. They tend to be difficult to find and may be expensive. It’s not unusual for women to stop menstruating when they’re travelling for a long time. If there are no other symptoms and you’re not concerned that you might be pregnant, don’t worry.

If you’re prone to yeast infections, they’re more likely to recur in warm, moist climates. Wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear and skirts rather than pants may help. Carry appropriate medication in your first-aid kit; it might not be available where you’re travelling.
Know before you go!

Health Canada’s Travel Medicine Program strongly recommends that your travel plans include contacting a travel medicine clinic or your physician six to eight weeks before departure. Based on an individual risk assessment, a health care professional can determine your need for immunizations and medication and can advise you on what precautions to take to avoid disease while travelling.

Get travel insurance!

Make sure you don’t leave Canada without adequate health insurance for travellers. Review your policy thoroughly so that you know exactly what your coverage entails. For example, does your policy provide an in-house worldwide emergency hotline that you can call if you’re in trouble? Does the policy pay foreign hospital and related medical costs? Carry proof of your coverage with you.