6 Common Female Health Problems Every Woman Should Know
While everyone is at risk of common health problems, some issues impact women more than men. And some concerns are exclusive to women.
By understanding the risks, women can better control their health and prevent issues from worsening with time. Here are some of the most common female health problems of which to be aware.
(NOTE: This list is not meant to cause extra anxiety, but rather to help women feel empowered about their health — and remember to care for it!)
1. Gynecological Concerns
Menstruation is a well-known process for most women, but there are other gynecological issues to be aware of.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), women can face gynecological health problems like:
- Menstrual irregularities and disorders
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic floor disorders
- Uterine fibroids
- Reproductive tract cancer
Women can protect their gynecological health by getting regular checkups and screenings, maintaining good hygiene, tracking menstrual cycles, practicing safe sex, and taking care of their mental health.
2. Common Cancers in Women: Breast and Cervical
Cervical and breast cancer are two of the most common cancers in women, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Most deaths from these cancers happen in locations where people aren’t receiving preventative screenings and treatments. Women can help reduce their risk by seeing their doctors regularly to catch anything early.
3. Mental Health Conditions
Anyone can experience mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, but fluctuating hormones and life changes can make women more susceptible.
Many women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) around their cycle. Statistics from the Office on Women’s Health show that up to five percent of women of childbearing age struggle with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of PMS.
Women are also at risk of hormonal fluctuations that affect mental health throughout the life cycle. After giving birth, some women experience postpartum depression, and perinatal depression can happen during or after birth. In addition, moving into menopause — the end of menstrual cycles — can lead to depression and other mental health shifts.
Besides the tried-and-true practices — eating a balanced diet, exercising, and minimizing stress — women deserve time to prioritize their happiness and self-care. That can include:
- Making time for things they enjoy
- Opening up to people they trust about how they feel
- Seeking therapy or other mental health resources
4. Maternal Health Issues
Women who choose to have children are at an increased risk of specific issues during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and iron deficiency anemia.
Women can help reduce their risk by focusing on good health before conceiving — for example, eating well, staying active, and finding out if they are a high risk for any conditions or complications.
5. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune conditions cause the body to attack itself, and the organ that receives damage depends on the disease.
Women are more likely than men (at a rate of two to one) to receive autoimmune disease diagnoses, according to a 2020 article published in Cureus. Some examples include:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common type of lupus
- Sjögren syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
We still have a lot to learn about autoimmune diseases in women. The best steps currently are staying knowledgeable and living as healthily as possible.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes weak and brittle bones and can lead to fractures.
Over 30% of Americans diagnosed with osteoporosis are women. While there is no cure for this condition, women can protect themselves through prevention and knowing the warning signs.
Uncontrollable factors that influence the risk of osteoporosis include:
- Family history
- Thyroid issues
- Body frame size
Factors that women can control include low calcium intake, being underweight, tobacco use, excess alcohol use, and being sedentary.
The Bottom Line
It’s never fun talking about health risks, but knowing the facts about common female health problems can help women take control of their health. The goal is to live a long, happy life by making the best choices based on thorough knowledge.
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