Women and men may be vulnerable to many of the same health issues, but there are some conditions that affect women differently and more commonly – for example, breast cancer, cervical cancer, menopause, and pregnancy, to name a few.
In addition, women tend to suffer higher heart attack deaths than men, exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety more frequently, and experience urinary tract infections more often. And when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, these can cause more harm to women than men.
Since many women’s health concerns go undiagnosed, women need to be aware of the most common health concerns that affect them – and when to seek health from their doctor.
The Eight Most Prevalent Women’s Health Issues
- Heart Disease–While heart disease affects American men and women nearly equally, it causes one in every four deaths among women. Despite this troubling statistic – and the fact that 49 percent of all American adults suffer from factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which contribute to heart disease – only 54 percent of women are aware that it is the number one health condition threatening females in the United States.
- Breast Cancer–This condition is the most aggressive cancer affecting women worldwide. It typically originates in the lining of the milk ducts and may present itself in breast lumps, then can spread to other organs. While most lumps are non-threatening, they should be checked by your care provider immediately after detection.
- Ovarian and Cervical Cancer–The difference between these two forms of cancer is that cervical cancer starts in the lower uterus, and ovarian cancer originates in the fallopian tubes. Both conditions cause similar pain, but cervical cancer also causes discharge and pain during intercourse.Since ovarian cancer has no symptoms in its early stage, an annual pelvic exam is advisable. A Pap smear can detect cervical cancer, but not ovarian cancer, which requires transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test.
- Gynecological Issues–While bleeding and discharge are normal during a women’s menstrual cycle, added symptoms – such as bleeding between periods and frequent urinating – may or may not indicate a health issue such as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or reproductive tract cancer. If left untreated, these lead to more serious conditions, such as infertility or kidney failure.
- Pregnancy Issues – Pre-existing conditions – such as asthma, diabetes, and depression – can become worse during pregnancy, thereby endangering the health of both mother and child if not effectively managed. Pregnancy can also cause anemia (a drop in your red blood cell count) or trigger depression.
- Osteoporosis –This disease, which occurs mostly in women, develops when bone mineral density and bone mass decrease, leading to a decrease in bone strength that allows them to fracture easily. It can be caused by factors, such as age, alcohol consumption, certain medications, genetics, lack of exercise, low body mass, smoking, and steroid use.While there is no cure for osteoporosis, your doctor can measure your bone density using an X-ray or ultrasound and prescribe preventive measures, including dietary supplements, healthier lifestyle choices, or prescription medication.
- Autoimmune Diseases – These occur when body cells designed to eliminate threats, such as viruses, start attacking healthy cells. Symptoms include exhaustion, pain, mild fever, skin irritation, and vertigo. Most autoimmune diseases can be managed through early detection by your doctor and simple measures such as reducing your toxin intake, lowering stress, and consuming less fat and sugar.
- Depression and Anxiety – Natural female hormonal fluctuations can lead to depression or anxiety, while premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD) occur commonly among women, presenting similar, yet greatly intensified, symptoms. Also, postpartum depression can develop shortly after giving birth, and when women transition into menopause, it can also cause depression. Fortunately, your health care provider can offer relief in the form of prescription or therapeutic treatments.
Women’s Health Doctor Near Me
At the first signs or symptoms of these common health concerns, women should visit a physician specializing in women’s health.The highly skilled and caring physicians at University OB/GYN Associates provide both comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology services that include but are not limited to:
- Annual well-women visits
- Breast exams and mammograms
- Menopause management
- Infertility evaluation
- Health screenings
- Contraceptive counseling and family planning
- Pap smears
- HPV screening and vaccine
Our obstetricians, gynecologists, and specialists are experts in their field and are committed to providing you with compassionate healthcare and the most up-to-date treatments and testing at every stage of your life.