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Women's Health Issues Nobody Talks About

03/05/2022 | 5 min. read

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Because women have unique biological needs and structures, they face health issues that men do not face.

While many serious health issues affect both men and women, many of those that impact women are not given enough attention, raising awareness can help boost the prevention of these issues.

All people need to be aware of the health issues that women undergo to receive proper treatment and care for chronic conditions.

Major Women’s Health Issues

Several health issues only target women or individuals who have female organs. This is because of the unique structures certain female organs have, especially those that are part of the reproductive system.

Here are some of the most common.

Menstrual Irregularities

Menstrual irregularities are perhaps the most common reproductive health issue women face, with up to 25 percent of women experiencing them.

While periods often cause general discomfort, women and adolescent girls with irregularities may experience more pain and longer, heavier periods which can impact the quality of their day-to-day lives.

Urinary and Vaginal Infections

While men can also experience urinary tract infections, they occur at a much greater rate in women due to the structure of their reproductive organs. They are more susceptible to infection and bacteria entering the body.

Urinal and vaginal infections, such as yeast infections, can be very serious if not treated by a doctor. Untreated urinary tract infections can also progress to bladder or kidney infections.

Prenatal and Postpartum Mental Health Issues

Having a baby is thought to be a joyful, wonderful experience for mothers. While there is no doubt that most expecting women become loving and caring mothers, going through mental health issues during and after pregnancy is normal.

Women should not be shamed for feeling low or experiencing feelings of sadness and anxiety during this time but should instead be given the support they need to make it through the changes in their lives.

Pregnancy Risks

As aforementioned, pregnancy is not always the joyful and stress-free experience a lot of people make it out to be. The changes in hormones alone can cause a variety of uncomfortable effects.

Being pregnant can even be dangerous for a woman’s health, depending on pre-existing health conditions. Maternal deaths are a real risk, and pregnant women face many potential health concerns throughout pregnancy and childbirth.

Pregnant individuals may experience dangerously high blood pressure levels, as well as nutrient deficiencies, malnutrition, and kidney damage. Proper maternity care is vital for maternal health during and after pregnancy.

Fertility Problems

While men also face fertility problems, women who cannot quickly become pregnant have long been shamed for their fertility status. They can be thought of as less of a woman because of their underlying health issues.

Birth control is another common aspect of women’s health, and long-term use of certain types of hormonal birth control may increase a woman’s risk for stroke and sexual problems.

Ovarian Problems

Ovarian problems can be caused by infection or underlying illness and may cause risks during pregnancy, unregulated periods, and fertility problems.

Some ovarian problems include growths in the uterus and endometriosis, which can cause an imbalance in the growth of the uterine lining.

Other Women’s Health Issues

Although other health issues impact both men and women, many have disproportionate effects on women and are not as easily recognized by healthcare providers.

Cancer

Two of the most common cancers that disproportionately affect women are breast and cervical cancers. Cervical cancer is unique to women, while only one percent of men are diagnosed with breast cancer, with the remaining 99 percent being women.

In the United States alone, almost 50,000 women die from breast cancers and cervical cancers a year. These types of cancers are hereditary, but cervical cancer is also linked to infection with human papillomavirus.

While risk increases due to lifestyle habits, many otherwise healthy women will be diagnosed and die from the illnesses.

HIV and STDs

While HIV and STI’s afflict both men and women, they are even more detrainment to women, especially those living in low-income areas and countries, or those who have been subject to sexual violence and assault.

Because women are less likely to be diagnosed and treated for these illnesses due to stigma or sexism, they are more likely to suffer and become critically ill.

This may be especially true for women living in poverty.

Women’s Health Care

It can be difficult for women to receive the health care they need, especially if they are disadvantaged or do not have access to doctors they are comfortable with.

All women must visit a primary health care doctor and a gynecologist regularly. It is always best to seek medical care if you are experiencing any severe symptoms or illnesses.

To improve your health from home, make a note of the following quick tips:

  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime to keep your whole body healthy. Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week and make sure you consume all of the essential nutrients you need. Proper exercise may also help ward off urinary incontinence and arthritis in older women.
  • Consider taking supplements that will center your needs as a woman or individual with female reproductive organs. While you can take separate supplements, there are many multivitamins tailored for women of all ages, as well as those who are pregnant and those who have just given birth.
  • Be attentive to your mental health, no matter how busy you are or how many things you are balancing during the day. There are many natural ways you can help improve your mental health and mood on a day-to-day basis.

Conclusion

Women face a wide variety of health issues unique to females, and learning about gender differences and stigmatization in healthcare can raise awareness about the prevention of certain diseases.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and practicing self-care are all strategies that can help you reduce your risk of certain health issues.

If you are experiencing symptoms of health problems you cannot deal with on your own, it is always best to seek help from a professional.

Sources:

What health issues or conditions are specific to women only? | NIH

Ten top issues for women's health | WHO

What Are the Side Effects of Birth Control Pills? | Planned Parenthood

Healthy Directions Staff Editor