Although both men and women share similar health concerns, some issues specifically threaten women’s health. In view of the male and female biological differences, some health concerns like heart attacks and depression are higher in women than in men. As the month of May, which is Women’s Health Month in the United States, draws to an end, we are taking a look at a list of women’s health issues which affects women globally.
During puberty, girls gradually become women and they experience different physical and mental issues which could become life-threatening if left undiagnosed. But here is the positive twist: these conditions can be treated or managed properly depending on the said issue and how early it was detected.
Here are 7 women’s health issues you should watch out for…
#1. Reproductive / sexual issues
According to the World Health Organization, “Sexual and reproductive health problems are responsible for one-third of health issues for women between 15 and 44 years.” Putting these figures into consideration, unprotected sex should be far from your tent. That’s the primary mode of transmission for sexually transmitted diseases, obviously. Hygiene and routine checkups go a long way to staying healthy as well.
Honestly, cancer needs an article by itself. The ferocious manner with which it claims the lives of innocent women is simply disheartening. Topping the list is breast and cervical cancer, of which the mortality rate is alarming. When it comes to women’s health issues, cancer should be declared a state of emergency. The best solution to cancer-related issues is early detection and treatment. It’s understandable to feel disheartened and choose to be in denial, but the earlier treatment commences, the higher the chances of beating cancer.
#3. Maternal health
This particular threat to women’s health has to be one of the most painful. Yet many deaths and complications in pregnancy and childbirth are avoidable. With proper knowledge of family planning, healthy dieting, maternal healthcare, and basic facilities for childbirth, maternal mortality cases would reduce drastically. The antidote is to equip yourself with knowledge and demand the best care from your healthcare providers.
#4. Cardiovascular diseases
Heart diseases and stroke are responsible for the death of at least 1 in 3 women, and that’s an alarming statistic. The more you make it a point of duty to know about your heart’s health, the higher the chances are of preventing/surviving cardiovascular diseases. If you experience persistent jaw and chest pain, high blood pressure, dizziness, abnormal sweating, cardiac arrest, or any unusual symptom, ensure that you book an appointment with your doctor ASAP. Even if you do not experience any of these symptoms, you will benefit from routine checks.
#5. Mental health issues
In recent years, depression and suicide have been a leading threat to women’s health and life. To encourage women to take charge of their mental health, more awareness about mental health and sensitizing messages should flood the media. What can you do? Improve your knowledge of mental health and do not shy away from asking for help if you notice any mental health concerns.
#6. Bone health issues
Bone conditions like osteoporosis become a source of women’s health concerns from age 30 and above. This is because, after this age, new bones stop developing, and the body’s more focused on repairing already existing ones. At this stage, without proper care of our bones, they start to deteriorate, leading to arthritis and calcium-deficient illnesses. Sometimes, these lead to waist, joints, and back pain, especially after childbirth. The solution? Go for annual checkups and consume foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D, or take these vitamins in the form of supplements. Foods such as milk, green leafy vegetables and nuts are good sources of calcium. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and fish liver oils are among the best sources of vitamin D.
This might sound over-flogged, but it cannot be over-emphasized. Violence and abuse are major threats to women’s health, both physically and mentally. If you’re in an abusive relationship or a toxic environment, we advise you reach out for help. It is definitely a big deal to force yourself out of the inertia of abuse, but reaching out and accepting help is a step in the right direction. Women exposed to consistent violence are at higher risk of heart diseases and mental illnesses.
- A total lifestyle change: Eat healthy, exercise, reduce stress, cut down on alcohol, quit smoking.
- Go on routine checkups: As we get older, our bodies require more deliberate attention. Don’t wait for a symptom to deteriorate before checking into the hospital. Early detection saves lives.
- If on medication, try not to skip the dosage: Take your drugs religiously and adhere to the doctor’s instructions.
- Make your mental health a priority by catching up on mental health information. Find your tribe, create/join a support group that works, do the things you love and don’t be scared to see a therapist should you feel overwhelmed.
- Surround yourself with knowledge of your self-worth. Love you enough to remove yourself from a toxic relationship and/or work environment. Take responsibility for your happiness.
“A woman’s health is her capital.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Cover Image: Ayo Ogunseinde | Unsplash
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