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Having Your First Mammogram

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

I remember going to my first dental cleaning. Back when I was 11 one of my uncles who was a dentist did all our dental work. I had just got almost all of my second set of teeth. The first time I sat in the chair and checked out what was beside me, I was absolutely terrified. There were all these stainless steel gadgets shining under the lights and the alcohol smell was making me nauseated. And mind you, this was my very first visit to the dentist! My uncle was the one who gave me my first tetanus shot too when I was 16 and pregnant. Now that was a piece of cake! He was speaking to me one minute and the next minute he said he was finished. I didn't feel a thing. When my uncle died about 16 years ago I felt sad for him but some of the memories he left in me still haunt me to this date. And that is not a nice way to remember someone you love or are even friendly with.

For most women, having their first mammogram is kind of like my own experience at the dentist. They are absolutely frightened of their breasts being compressed. There are a few facts that we need to discuss about mammograms and how important they are to us.

A mammogram is used to screen early signs of breast cancers. With the aid of mammograms thousands of women who are diagnosed in early stages are treated more effectively. For many women mammograms mean pain and discomfort at the time of examination. But few realize that it is a life saving tool. There are few measures that women could take before and after a mammogram that could increase their level of comfort and leaving a more positive attitude towards a mammogram exam the next year.

1. When scheduling for a mammogram it is always better to pick a time that is a few days after the menstrual cycle ends. When a woman's body prepares for menstruation there is a lot of fluid retention in the body including the breasts. Because of the high levels of hormones during and before the cycle breasts become very tender thus making it hard to sustain the compression during the mammogram.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.