Women’s health is a complex field and there are many issues or conditions that can affect women. Some of these conditions affect only women, and others affect mostly women. Here is a list of some of the more common women’s health problems or conditions
1. Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are a common in women, affecting up to 75% of women. Symptoms can include a thick white-gray discharge, itching, burning, and painful urination or intercourse. It is mostly caused by the overgrowth of a vaginal yeast called Candida Albicans. Causes of a yeast overgrowth can be cancer, chemotherapy, diabetes, or pregnancy. Yeast infections can be treated easily with OTC medicine or prescription medicine.
2. Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids is a common condition that affects many women. It is a condition in which benign tumors made of muscle tissues and other tissue matter grows inside or on a woman’s uterus or womb. The cause of fibroids is unknown and sometimes women don’t have any symptoms of having fibroids. When symptoms do appear, they can include:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic area and/or abdomen
- Frequent miscarraiges
- Early labor
3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
This occurs when a women’s ovaries are enlarged and produce an abnormally high amount of male hormones. The ovaries can develop cysts from ruptured follicles. Symptoms of this condition can include infertility, pelvic pain, dark brown or black blotches on the skin, and excessive hair growth on the face, chest, hands, and feet. Although the exact cause of PCOS is not known, it is believed to be associated with obesity and increased levels of insulin production.
When a woman’s body is preparing for pregnancy, it creates a lining that wallpapers the uterus. Endometriosis is a condition in which this lining grows in other places besides the uterus. Many women don’t have any symptoms of endometriosis other than difficulty getting pregnant but when symptoms do occur, they can include heavy periods and pain in the lower back, pelvic area, and abdomen. There is no cure for endometriosis, but it can be managed. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, treatment can range from simple pain medication to surgery in extreme cases.
5. Breast Cancer
It is the leading cancer among women and the cancer that has the second highest death rate for women. Breast cancer is caused by a mutation in the DNA of breast cells that replicate and clump together to form a tumor. The exact reason for the mutation is unknown. Symptoms of breast cancer vary widely from person to person and some people may not have any symptoms at all. Symptoms can include (but not limited to):
- A lump in the breasts
- An enlarged lymph node in the armpit
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge
- Painful, red, or swollen nipples
- Other odd changes in the feel or appearance of the breast
A mammogram is a test that screens women for breast cancer. It is recommended that women get screened annually after the age of 40. Treatment for breast cancer can vary depending on the stage of the cancer. Radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy are examples of treatment for breast cancer.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak or brittle. This condition commonly affects older women who are past menopause. Under normal conditions, the bones in the human body break down and regenerate themselves on a regular basis. Osteoporosis occurs when the bones can no longer regenerate themselves at the same pace as the bones break down. This loss in bone mass is what causes the bones to be weak. When a person suffers from osteoporosis, fractures can occur more easily than before. There are generally no symptoms of osteoporosis in the early stages of the condition, but once the condition is peaked, a person can expect to have back pain, a loss of height, and a stooped posture. There is no cure for osteoporosis, but steps towards prevention are maintaining a healthy body weight, regular exercise, a good, balanced diet, and consuming enough calcium and vitamin D.
7. Turner Syndrome
Turner syndrome is a condition that affects the development process in women. Women with this condition have short statures and never go through puberty without going through hormone therapy. In general, they will look like little girls for their entire lives. Turner syndrome is caused by an abnormal or missing X chromosome. In some cases, the abnormality may only affect some of the person’s cells instead of all of them. This is called mosaic turner syndrome. Women with Turner syndrome often have major heart defects. They can also have webbed neck, puffy hands and feet, skeletal abnormalities. Turner syndrome also causes infertility in most cases. The eggs die prematurely and the ovarian tissues can degenerate before birth. There is no cure for Turner syndrome and scientists are not quite sure what causes the X chromosome abnormality.
Although there are many conditions that affect women’s health, women are still able to lead healthy lifestyles.
You can explore how exercise can improve your health.
Many women never get any of these conditions. For women who do, medical advances have made managing these conditions possible so that women can still enjoy a happy an productive life.