Life as an expat woman in Thailand can certainly be thrilling. However, it’s easy to feel as though your time abroad is an extended vacation – and to neglect your healthcare needs as a result. Women have to deal with several things that their male counterparts don’t, which can easily be overlooked when living somewhere new. Our friends from Pacific Prime Thailand are here to offer some useful health tips for expat women.
Get a health screening before traveling
It’s ideal to go for a pre-departure health screening before moving abroad. Visit your GP at least three months before leaving for a general health screening and vaccinations. If you’re taking any medications, be sure to have a letter from your doctor to take with you. Find out whether you’ll be able to get your medication abroad and if you can take enough prescriptions with you to cover your stay. Be sure to check customs requirements to avoid the risks.
Understand your birth control and gynecological care options
Some foreigners in Thailand are surprised to learn that they cannot get the same birth control as they can back home. While you can easily buy birth control without a prescription, the type of birth control you’re familiar with might not be available in the country. However, you’ll probably be able to find the same brand or ingredients under a different name. If you’ll be traveling with birth control, get a doctor’s letter just in case.
Along with determining your birth control options, you should also find a local gynecologist. Since expats in Thailand don’t have access to gynecologists under the public healthcare system, most opt for private health insurance to receive top medical services without making out-of-pocket payments.
Anticipate common female health issues
Female health problems can occur no matter where you are in the world, though some might be more likely than others. The most common female health issues you might face as a woman in Thailand include prickly heat, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections (UTI).
Thailand’s tropical climate can cause excessive sweating that results in an itchy and inflamed heat rash. If you can’t avoid situations that make you sweat a lot, the next best thing you can do is take cool showers on a regular basis. While heat rash can happen to anyone, women on birth control tend to be more susceptible. You may want to discuss other options with your GP if you suspect your birth control may be making matters worse.
Despite not being particularly dangerous, the intense itchiness, irritation, and discharge caused by yeast infections can make them uncomfortable and bothersome. These fungal infections are usually more common in warmer countries, which is why expat women should go the extra mile to prevent them. Stay away from food or beverages that have high sugar or yeast content, add probiotics to your diet, and wear loose, breathable fabrics as often as possible.
Many women are familiar with the burning sensation that occurs when they’re trying to urinate during a UTI. Women frequently experience this condition since the short length of the female urethra makes it easier for bacteria to get into the urinary tract. Even though several factors can contribute to a UTI, expat women should exercise caution when traveling to areas with poor hygiene levels and limited public toilets.
Stay hydrated to dilute your urine and urinate more regularly. You should also carry wet wipes or tissue paper with you to use in public toilets. Lastly, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from making its way into your urinary tract.
Consider your pregnancy options
If you’re planning on starting a family then there’s a lot you need to think about, especially if you’re going to do it abroad. When it comes to pregnancies, most people focus on the delivery but forget about the importance of pre- and post-natal care. As an expat, it’s usually a good idea to secure maternity insurance to cover the costs of your pregnancy. Similarly, you’ll want to look into maternity insurance that offers coverage in your country of residence and Thailand if you will be traveling between both places.
There are pros and cons to living in Thailand, just like in any country. However, with the right preparation and understanding, you can easily have your healthcare needs met in the Land of Smiles. Whether you’re looking for expat health insurance for yourself, your partner, or your family, Pacific Prime Thailand is here to help. Contact us to receive unbiased advice or a free quote today.