7 Common Women’s Health Issues
There are numerous issues in women’s health which you should be aware of. Studies show that the most common health problems women face are heart diseases, breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer, pregnancy issues, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety.
From the time a girl reaches puberty until about 50, she is twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as a man. Anxiety disorders occur earlier in women than they do in men. When women stress, their stress is more likely to manifest in physical symptoms and cause changes to their bodies.
The most significant contributor to stress in women is work-related. Workplace stress is a high-risk factor for anxiety and depression. When people feel overwhelmed at work, they often lose confidence, become angry, irritable, or withdrawn.
Other signs and symptoms of excessive work stress include:
- feeling anxious
- irritable or depressed
- problems sleeping
- trouble concentrating
- muscle tension or headaches
- stomach problems
Knowing what is contributing to this stress enables them to look at the right strategies to manage it.
High levels of stress can cause women and young girls to miss their periods or experience irregular cycles. It can also make their periods more painful. PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and mood swings can worsen, too. For women approaching menopause, hormonal changes can bring on stress. Emotional stress can make menopause symptoms worse and can increase the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
Here we have listed, in detail, the seven most common women’s health issues.
Early warning signs of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable diseases in women. The death rate from cervical cancer has decreased by more than 50 percent over the last 40 years, due to increased use of the Pap test and HPV (Human papillomavirus) vaccination. Routine Pap screening is essential to check for abnormal cells in the cervix so that they are monitored and treated as early as possible. Cervical cancer does not typically cause noticeable symptoms; in its early stages; however, once the disease is more advanced, the following warning signs might start to show:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Vaginal discharge or foul smell.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Lower back, pelvic, or appendix pain.
- Leg pain.
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
Breast cancer symptoms and causes
The most common cancer in women is breast cancer. If there is a personal history of breast cancer in the family, the risk of developing it is much higher.
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a lump in the breast; this lump can change the size, shape, or appearance of a breast. More symptoms can include an inverted nipple, peeling, scaling, crusting, or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola).
Research points to hormonal, lifestyle, and environmental factors that may increase the risk of breast cancer. But it is not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet others with risk factors do not. The most common cause of breast cancer is a complex interaction of their genetic makeup and the environment.
Vaginal Cancer Facts, Symptoms & Information
Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer that starts in the vagina. There are several main types of vaginal cancer, including Squamous cell, Adenocarcinoma, Melanoma, and Sarcoma.
The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This includes bleeding after menopause, bleeding during or after sex, and bleeding in between menstruation. Other symptoms include:
- watery vaginal discharge
- painful or frequent urination
- In some cases, vaginal cancer has no symptoms and is only picked up during a routine pelvic exam.
Vaginal cancer stages indicated how far cancer has spread. There are four main stages, as well as one precancerous stage of vaginal cancer.
Uterine Cancer – Identify the Symptoms
Sometimes, women with uterine cancer do not experience any changes. Or, the cause of a four main stages symptom may be a different medical condition other than cancer. The most common symptoms are:
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge. For premenopausal women, this includes heavy or prolonged bleeding, and abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB).
- Abnormal results from a Pap test
- Pain in the pelvic area
- The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding, ranging from a watery and blood-streaked flow to a flow that contains more blood. Vaginal bleeding during or after menopause is most likely a sign of a problem.
Once diagnosed with uterine cancer, relieving the symptoms is an essential part of cancer care and treatment. This care is known as palliative care or supportive care and is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment.
Stage 1 ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer stage 1 indicates that the cancer is in its early stages. Surgery is the primary treatment; however, some women may need chemotherapy.
The stage of cancer indicates how far it has grown and if it has spread. The tests and scans taken to diagnose the disease will give some information about the stage. However, a doctor might not be able to tell the exact stage until surgery.
Doctors use a simple 1 to 4 staging system for ovarian cancer. It is known as the FIGO system.
Stage 1 ovarian cancer is only in the ovaries.
Stage 1 gets divided into three groups:
Stage 1A means the cancer is entirely inside one ovary
Stage 1B means the cancer is inside both ovaries
Stage 1C can be split into three groups:
Sage 1C1 means the tumor is in one or both ovaries and the ovary ruptures during surgery
Stage 1C2 indicates that cancer in either ovary ruptured before surgery or there is some cancer on the surface of an ovary.
Stage 1C3 means the tumor is in one or both ovaries, and there are cancer cells in fluid taken from inside of your abdomen during surgery.
Most women with Stage 1 ovarian cancer have an excellent prognosis. Stage 1 patients with grade 1 tumors have a 5-year survival of over 90%, as do patients in stages 1A and 1B.
Fallopian Tube Cancer: Causes, symptoms, and treatment
Fallopian tube cancer is similar to ovarian cancer, and doctors treat it in much the same way. It starts in the fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. Every month, an ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube. The egg will either get fertilized by sperm or pass out of the body during a menstrual period.
Fallopian tube cancer is sporadic. Only about 1% of all reproductive diseases in women start in the fallopian tubes. Fallopian tube cancer affects women from ages 18-88 , with the most common occurrence being between 40 and 65 years old.
Although doctors don’t know precisely why fallopian tube cancer happens. Women have a higher chance of contracting it if they’ve:
- Never given birth
- Never breastfed a child
- Never used birth control pills
- Having a relative (mother, sister, daughter) with ovarian or breast cancer also raises your risk.
One theory is that long-lasting infections of the reproductive tract might trigger this cancer. But this hasn’t been proved. Some women don’t have any signs of fallopian tube cancer. But if they do, it can include bleeding from the vagina outside of their menstrual cycle, white, clear, or pink discharge from the vagina, pain, or pressure in the lower belly or a lump or swelling lower abdomen. Surgery is the primary treatment for fallopian tube cancer. Which type of surgery they will get depends on the stage of the tumor, its size, and its spread.
The three main types of bladder cancer
Bladder cancer starts when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow out of control. As more cancer cells develop, they can form a tumor and, with time, spread to other parts of the body. There are three types of bladder cancer: Transitional, Squamous, and Adenocarcinoma.
What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?
Many people with bladder cancer can have blood in their urine, but no pain while urinating. Several symptoms might indicate bladder cancer like fatigue, weight loss, and bone tenderness. Particular attention needs to be paid to the following signs: blood in the urine, painful, frequent or urgent urination, urinary incontinence, pain in the abdominal area, or lower back.
A woman’s health is essential and good health should be a priority. However, this can be difficult for many women who lead busy lives and don’t take the time to stay on top of their health and well-being.
A woman’s health is not only determined by biological factors but also by the effects of workload, nutrition, and stress. Some might say that a female’s health is the most important in today’s society. As we know, the health of families and communities is tied to the health of women.
It’s crucial to make smart lifestyle choices throughout your life. Maintain good health by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoid bad habits such as smoking, manage stress, protecting skin from the sun’s harmful rays, and going for regular check-ups.
1 in 3 women develop cancer in their lifetime, which is why every woman should make a point of going for Pap smears, which checks for signs of cervical cancer, breast cancer, and blood pressure screenings every year. Prevention is better than cure!
Hopefully, you and your family will never face cancer. But if you do, Our Femme Cover is here to help. A cancer diagnosis is not only emotionally devastating but has serious financial implications for sufferers and their families. Total Risk’s Femme Cover acts as a financial safety net to help you cope with the impact of being diagnosed with any of the female cancers mentioned above.
At Total Risk, we provide cover for the following female cancers: cervical cancer, breast cancer, vaginal cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, and cancer for the fallopian tubes. We will assist you by paying out a predetermined lump sum upon confirmed diagnosis.
Go to www.totalrisksa.co.za for more information. Remember, healthy woman, healthy world.
Medical Gap Cover Questions & Queries
If you do have a medical aid plan or get one, it is important to also consider Gap Cover as an additional health insurance product.