Most of the common women’s health issues can be prevented and easily treated in their early stages. However, many women ignore their health issues and thus only exacerbate their diseases, turning them from acute and easy-treatable maladies to practically incurable ailments. Health is closely tied to women’s beauty. Skin state, hair, nails, breath and posture are good indicators of their owner’s health. In this article we have gathered the most common women health concerns for your consideration. Educating yourself on health issues is one of the ways to prevent most of them. So, let’s start with the most minor concerns, like weight gain and then focus on more serious, like breast cancer and vaginal infections.
#1 Weight Gain
It is not a secret that most women are seriously concerned about their appearance, especially their body weight. Women are the main buyers of low-fat and low-calorie products. You will hardly ever find a woman who has never dieted. However, weight fluctuations can be caused not only by nutritional habits, but other factors, including serious health conditions. So, the most common causes of weight gain are:
- Dieting. This may sound odd, yet one of the most frequent causes of weight gain are diets. Poorly balanced diet is a recipe for disaster: it not only starves your body, but exacerbates chronic diseases, as well as provokes new ones. Poor nutrition puts on stake women s health, and can cause menstruation disorders, anorexia, depression and anxiety disorders.
- Calorie-rich food and not enough exercise. Many women gain kilos because they ‘burn off’ less than they consume.
- Bad nutrition habits. Calories aren’t the only food’s characteristic. It is essential to realize that products we eat consist of different nutrients, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It is important to consume the right ratio of these nutrients (30%, 30%, and 40% respectively). Some people mistakenly believe that they can lose weight by leaning exclusively on proteins. However, these macro-nutrients require carbs and fats to be digested. It is also important to know how and when to eat: doctors recommend have 4-5 small meals per day (the most calorie- and carbs-rich in the morning, and the low-calorie in the evening).
- Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. The disbalance of the hormones secreted by the thyroid is known to cause weight fluctuations.
- Nutritional deficiencies. The disbalance of micro-nutrients (minerals and vitamins) can also be linked to weight gain.
- Certain types of drugs. Steroids and oral contraceptives can cause weight gain. Some medications appointed for depression and anxiety treatment may increase appetite and lead to overweight.
‘Orange peel syndrome’ or cellulite is the herniation of fat that manifests in the form of skin nodularity and dimpling. It mostly affects pelvic area, hips, and abdomen. Unfortunately, scientists can’t say for sure what exactly causes this unsightly skin condition. The most potential theories claim that cellulite formation is linked with female hormone estrogen which is responsible for storing fat in female body (for the pregnancy purposes). It traps excessive fluids and fat under skin and thus makes it pucker up.
Although cellulite is not a life-threatening condition, it makes many women feel miserable and depressed. However, there are numerous homemade and medical options to retrieve the beauty of the ‘cottage cheese’ skin. These include:
- Cellulite creams.
- Liposuction (a surgical operation aimed to remove fat deposits).
- Mesotherapy (injection of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals into the tissue beneath the skin surface).
- Spa procedures and anti-cellulite massage.
- Laser treatment.
In addition to these ‘superficial’ methods, there is a holistic approach that implies overall health optimizing by doing regular exercises, sticking to healthy diet, reducing bad habits (excessive alcohol, smoking, etc.).
#3 Vaginal Infections
Many women will experience at least one vaginal infection during their lifetime. Some of these occur because of various disbalances (such as yeast infection, for instance) in female bodies and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. But other disorders, like bacterial vaginosis or STI (sexually transmitted infections) should be diagnosed by specialists and treated with prescription drugs. Usually, the symptoms of vaginal infections are noticeable and very annoying. These include:
- Changes in discharge (consistency and color). Cottage cheese like secretion is usually linked with candidiasis, while thin discharge usually indicates bacterial disease. Other changes in color and consistency may be signs of STI.
- Changes in discharge odor (especially after sexual intercourse).
- Irritation and itching.
- Burning feeling during urination and/or pain in pelvic area. These can also indicate urinary tract diseases.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Pain in pelvic area during sexual intercourse.
Left untreated, sexually transmitted infections can cause severe complications, including infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. It is essential to note that vaginal infections don’t necessarily come with apparent symptoms. For this reason it is advisable to see gynecologist and undergo routine medical tests at least once a year.
#4 Breast Cancer
This disease is the second leading cancer-related cause of death in women (after lung cancer). The American Cancer Society research suggests that breast cancer will be diagnosed in one in eight women. The risk factors for this disease include:
- Genes. It has been scientifically proven that BC can be caused by mutations in certain genes (5% to 10% of all cases).
- Race. It has been estimated that white women are more likely to develop BC compared to African-American women.
- Earlier breast biopsy.
- Exposure to radiation, earlier chest radiation.
- Early menstruation (before age of 12), or menopause (after 55).
- Alcohol addiction.
There is a common myth that breast enlargement can cause cancer. However, the link between the surgery and the disease has not been established yet.
The most common symptoms of this cancer include appearance of a new lump under the arm or in the breast, breast pain, and sanguinolent discharge from nipples (rarely). Certain types of BC can manifest in swelling, itching, feeling warm in the breast, etc. Breast cancer treatment depends on the type and severity (stage) of the disease. Usually, a surgery is required: either lumpectomy or mastectomy. The former removes the malignant tumor and saves the breast, while the latter removes the entire breast. Other treatment options include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation treatment.
Practically all of the aforementioned health issues can be prevented and/or treated if diagnosed in time. By undergoing annual medical examinations, sticking to healthy lifestyle, and reducing overall stress you will decrease your odds to get one of those. In case you feel you may qualify for one of the mentioned womens health issues, don’t hesitate to see you therapist.