5 Common Health Issues Every Woman Should Know
Women and men have almost the same rate of contracting many health conditions and diseases. But there are some health issues that affect women mostly or occur exclusively in women.
Also, many common health problems go undiagnosed in women because many of the trials and research did in the past for which these conditions are based on did not include women in the test subjects.
Despite this, there are a number of health conditions that only affect women like breast and cervical cancer, pregnancy, and menopause. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are also quite common in women than in men. Urinary tract infection has a different presentation in women’s body than in men and has much more severe consequences in women.
After cancer skin, breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in women. Breast cancer is also a lot more common in women in developing countries because of their increased lifespan.
This type of cancer usually often starts in the milk ducts of the breast an initially manifests as a lump. It can then spread to other organs if untreated.
Breast cancer is considered by many as an aggressive type of cancer that affects millions of women (and sometimes men) around the world.
Like any type of cancer, breast cancer involves uncontrolled growth of cells that, when left untreated, will start to consume the resources normally allotted to normal body cells. Eventually, these cells will begin to spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
One way to prevent or manage breast cancer is early detection, which involves consulting with a doctor for screening and breast self-examination. This should be done monthly, and any lump should be shared to a physician as soon as possible.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer amongst women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in three women dies of heart-related problems each year.
In fact, a number of studies have pointed out that women are especially prone to heart disease because of delayed detection.
Women don’t usually experience the typical symptoms of heart attacks, often dismissing it as something else until it is too late.
During a heart attack, women often experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and dizziness, as oppose to the crushing chest pain commonly associated in a heart attack.
And while menopause does not directly result in an increased risk of heart attack, the changes in hormones that women experience during this time put them at greater risk for high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and lower estrogen, all of which have been known to contribute to developing cardiovascular problems and ultimately heart attack.
Cancer in the ovaries is another cancer type that is hard to detect, usually being diagnosed at a later stage where treatment is a lot more difficult and the risks more increased.
Surgery and chemotherapy are the common treatments of ovarian cancer, although early detection drastically increases a patient’s chances of remission.
Many cancer patients have also turned to cannabis products offered by some marijuana dispensary services to help manage chemotherapy problems as well as helping to prevent cancer itself.
The problem with ovarian cancer is at its early stage, rarely any symptoms are felt. It is only in its late-stage that women begin to complain about signs of bloating or swelling in the abdominal area, extreme weight loss, pain, changes in bowel movement, and frequent urination.
Ovarian cancer usually affects women in their 50s or 60s. It may also run in the family. Those who have a relative or a close family with ovarian cancer have a higher chance of getting it.
It is common for women to experience bleeding and some discharge during menstruation. But excessive bleeding during menstruation or bleeding in between cycles are signs of a far more serious problem.
Also, infrequent urination or pain during urination can also be a sign of something serious. Other symptoms of gynecological problems include:
• itching, burning, redness in the vaginal area
• lumps or soreness in the genital region
• increase vaginal discharge in between cycles
• pain during intercourse
Women are also prone to contracting HPV, human papillomavirus, one leading cause in cervical cancer. With the invention of Pap smear, it has been possible to detect HPV early on, and the development of a vaccine has greatly reduced the number of women who contract the virus. Although many women in developing countries still suffer from HPV.
This is a disease where bones become weak and brittle, making them prone to fractures. Women in their postmenopausal age are prone to having osteoporosis. Other risk factors for osteoporosis include early onset menopause, low body mass index, chemotherapy, and genetics.
The risks can be minimized by increasing calcium intake, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake, and staying active with proper weight-bearing exercise.
Women are especially prone to osteoporosis because, compared to men, they have lower bone density. Estrogen, a hormone in women that promotes bone growth and keeps it healthy drops significantly during menopause which may lead to excessive bone loss during this age.
This is why it is important for women of all age to stay fit and healthy to encourage bone growth. Having healthy bones as they enter menopause means lower chances of developing osteoporosis.
It is also recommended for women to take estrogen during menopause to prevent bone loss as well as to help manage the symptoms of menopause.
Women are dealt with the heavy burden of having to deal with many health conditions exclusive to their gender. On top of that, many of the common diseases are skewed to favor men in terms of symptoms and cure.
It is only in recent times that more attention is paid on women’s health with many kinds of literature having been changed to shift misconception about women’s health.
Yet, many women all around the world still have to suffer from lack of awareness, prevention, and cure of illnesses that should have been eradicated years ago. Many of these women are from developing countries with very little resources to improve public health and awareness.