The week of May 9th is Women's Health Week. With that in mind, there’s no better time to highlight women's health and wellness issues—all of which every woman should be aware of.
In recent decades, wellness for women has been making waves in the medical and scientific communities.
We finally recognize as Dr. Stacy Sims put it,
“Women are not small men.”
We actually have an entirely different hormonal profile, which fluctuates monthly and gives way to various unique challenges.
So, what are nine women’s health and wellness issues you should stay in the know about? And most importantly, can you prevent them?
WebMD outlines the top five female health concerns as heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and autoimmune diseases. While many of these conditions sound scary, there are various ways you can prevent them, some of which we’ll take a closer look at below.
It almost goes without saying that a healthy lifestyle and diet help in leaps and bounds when it comes to lowering your risk of developing ill-health. In fact, many health coaches and healthcare providers are flipping the traditional reactionary medical model on its head, opting for prevention and looking to get to the root of the problem.
The first step? It all starts with knowledge. The good news is that by reading this article, you’re already getting a leg-up on it all and are well on the road toward lifelong health and happiness.
The following nine women’s health and wellness issues cover a spectrum of problems many women face throughout their lifetime. It’s worth noting that although heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, it isn’t listed here since it’s not solely a women’s health issue.
So, without further delay, let’s take a look! What should you know? Can you prevent them?
First off, if you’ve experienced violence against women, know it’s not your fault and that you aren’t alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that a shocking 1 in 3 women experiences physical or sexual intimate partner violence.
And the impact on a woman’s overall health is astounding, to say the least. Violence against women can lead to physical, mental, reproductive, and sexual health problems. Undeniably, these instances can even prove fatal.
How can we, as a society, work toward preventing this? There are a few ways…
Osteoporosis is when the bones in the body become weak and brittle, which leads to easy breakage and fractures. Unfortunately, women are more at risk of developing this condition, more specifically if you:
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests that women aged 65 and older attend a screening for osteoporosis, which examines their bone’s mineral density. This can help you stay in the know, rather than finding out after a fracture has already occurred.
Sheryl Crow, singer and breast cancer survivor, has said,
“More than 10 million Americans are living with cancer, and they demonstrate the ever-increasing possibility of living beyond cancer.”
With many fundraisers for breast cancer, awareness, advocacy, and research continue, with the hope of preventing the deaths of all women who face this grave diagnosis. While men can get it too, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.
This is why many healthcare providers encourage women to check their breasts regularly and get a mammogram every two years after 50. This monitoring is even more crucial for women who have a family history of breast cancer.
Steering away from the political controversies, let’s talk about fertility problems. Individuals and couples alike seek out IVF and other reproductive technologies more than ever before.
WHO further recognizes that 810 women die every year due to complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth, many of which are entirely preventable.
Additionally, there is a lot of talk about improving women’s overall hormonal health and wellness to prevent maternal issues down the line.
In fact, it’s becoming widely accepted that extreme dieting, caloric restriction, and excessive exercise are in no way supportive of maternal health, with many programs and coaches starting to promote more holistic messaging.
PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, impacts about 5-10% of women aged 15 to 44. This condition is characterized by an imbalance in hormones, creating ovarian issues, missed and irregular periods, infertility, and the development of cysts on the ovaries.
While there is no cure for PCOS, treatment tends to focus on improving overall quality of life through lifestyle adjustments and diet. In conjunction with this, your doctor may focus on managing related conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Endometriosis is a women’s health and wellness issue that happens when the uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. In turn, this can impact fertility as it affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis tissue.
While various causes can lead to endometriosis, treatment focuses on hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, fertility treatment, and in severe cases, a hysterectomy (which is usually only considered an option after a woman’s childbearing years).
Women are more likely to receive a Hashimoto’s disease diagnosis than men. It’s thought this happens due to women’s bodies being more prone to thyroid issues.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that impacts the thyroid. It can lead to hypothyroidism, creating weight and other health issues and difficulty getting pregnant.
Unfortunately, doctors and experts aren’t entirely sure how to prevent it (although focusing on your overall health can help!). Luckily, however, it’s very treatable.
Menopause marks one year since a woman’s last period. Perimenopause, on the other hand, includes the years leading up to this time in a woman’s life. And perimenopause is only recently getting the attention it truly deserves!
Perimenopausal symptoms can involve:
For most women, perimenopause starts between 40 and 44 years of age. However, it can last anywhere from eight to 10 years. It’s thought that addressing specific health concerns (including nutritional deficiencies) before this time in a women’s life can help reduce her risk of developing symptoms.
Yet, at the same time, this phase of a woman’s life marks a time when your hormones are changing. Thus, symptoms may occur either way. The good news is that there are many options available to manage these symptoms and help you through this time!
On top of this, FemTech devices are leading the way in helping alleviate and relieve menopausal symptoms.
Let’s be honest: cramps suck! Mood swings can also make you feel out of control. Feeling sick once a month is further in no way ideal. Many women also experience fatigue around that “time of the month.”
In some cases, hormonal birth control can help with these symptoms. Other things that can help you find a better balance include:
The face of the matter is that women go through ebbs and flows throughout the month (we’ve got the hormone chart to prove it!). Thus, some of these symptoms might not be entirely avoidable. However, cycle syncing is gaining steam where women fit their work schedule and exercise routines around what phase of menstruation they are in.
Related Article: Top 5 Benefits of Reiki & How it Can Help You With Stress
Women’s health and wellness is a unique playing field, one of which scientists are only just starting to figure out. Luckily, we’re getting somewhere with it! This means that there are many resources at your disposal to help improve your life and prevent common issues. Find them and use them!
As Maya Angelou has said, “When women take care of their health, they become their best friend.”
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May 25, 2022