Women’s Health Issues: Factors Affecting Women’s Health, And How To Improve Women’s Health
Women’s health issues are diverse, ranging from reproductive health to mental health. The physical needs of women vary throughout their lifecycle, from menstruation and pregnancy to menopause. Issues such as pelvic pain, urinary tract infections, cervical cancer, and breast cancer are prevalent among women. Women are also more prone to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders than men.
The lack of access to healthcare services and information impedes the timely diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these health needs. The societal and cultural stigma attached to women’s health also dissuades them from seeking medical help. It is essential to improve education and awareness, provide affordable and accessible healthcare services, and eliminate the stigma surrounding women’s health issues to ensure the well-being and empowerment of women.
Both biological makeup and gender differences have an impact on a person’s health in various ways that have ramifications for both men’s and women’s health and well-being. Due to the difficulties that have been noted to affect women in various societies, the health of women and the feminine gender as a whole is given special emphasis.
For instance, women are highly vulnerable to infectious infections, whether they are aware of it or not. HIV/AIDS, a sexually transmitted disease, is a prime example of this (1).
In terms of diagnosis, inspection, study, and treatment of diseases affecting women’s health and well-being, women’s health topics simply refers to the area of medicine that focuses on the total health of women. Many health issues affect women differently, such as pregnancy and childbirth. Female patients are also at higher risk of developing high blood pressure and other health conditions. Many of these health concerns have to do with healthy lifestyle choices, which are limited by inadequate education and nutrition factors identified above. Health care providers for women may keep these factors in consideration when prescribing medication to women or fulfill their gynecological needs.
One of the major goals of the world health organization (WHO) is to promote and improve the health of women all over the world. This includes both gynecology and obstetrics health as in menstruation, women’s cancer, mental health, pregnancy, and old age care for women.
The physicians for women’s health who specializes in taking care of the women’s reproductive system, fertility, and conception are referred to as obstetrics and gynecologists. They can be seen at different specialist hospitals and the women’s health center (2).
Women’s Health Issues: Factors Affecting Women’s Health
The following factors have been highlighted to impact the health of women both physically and mentally, hence, a thorough understanding of these factors will help women’s health dr to help their clients better. Some of the factors are:
Inadequate education and ignorance
Several factors impact the health of women, but of them all, education takes the lead. Although, every girl and woman is getting more access to education than before there are still lots of women out there who need to be enlightened on the importance of caring for their health.
Studies revealed that daily, an estimated 70 million girls are out of school, and close to 500 million females all over the world are fully illiterate with no knowledge of the importance and how to improve their health.
The ratio of illiteracy of men to women is 1:2. lack of proper education in these women put them at high risk of morbidity, predisposition to abuses, trafficking, and mortality.
A lot of women who die in the homes of quack birth attendants are uneducated women and women who lack knowledge of deciding or making a good decision to save their own lives (3).
Research carried out shows that close to 16% of women residing in rural areas are far from medical facilities and lack access to the women’s health centers, hence the majority of them cannot access quality health care.
The practice of poor hygiene which many of these women see as norms also predisposes them to diseases, such as enteric fever, which if not well taken care of can result in their death.
Unlike women who are knowledgeable and digitalized who have full access to health care and are digitalize, aside from being able to access the proper physicians for women’s health, they also have access to the women’s health portal online where they get consultations and education that will help promote their health (4).
Some women lack adequate knowledge of the proper food and diet they should be on to improve their health, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Also, another contributory factor is the absence of decent women’s health and wellness center that is supposed to set the right standards and guidance to help women to improve their health.
Studies carried out also show that women eat the least quantity of food in families because of their quest to ensure that everyone else feeds well, hence, they suffer from malnutrition, anemia during pregnancy, and other life-threatening conditions.
Multiple, frequent, and unsafe pregnancies
Certain cultures believe that a woman must birth a male child to remain relevant in society, and to secure their place in the family. Hence, women who have female children are forced to have frequent pregnancies either against their will or not in the quest to birth a male child.
A nursing mother is supposed to heal adequately before another pregnancy exposure so their body is physiologically ready and fit for the next pregnancy phase and journey.
After multiple gestation such as twin pregnancy, there is over-stretching of the uterine muscles which are supposed to be given time to heal after delivery to prevent a rupture of the uterus in the next pregnancy.
Poverty has led to the death of so many women directly or indirectly. So many women’s mortality has been linked to a lack of funds to access the women’s health center when they are ill or need help, and by so doing, most women opt for traditional treatment of their ailments which has led to the death of so many women.
Violence against women
Gender-based violence against women is another silent factor that is capable of impaction the health of women. Studies reveal that in some parts of the world, gender-based violence against women is being reported every five minutes.
And sadly, most of the underdeveloped and developing countries do not have rehabilitation centered in women’s health and wellness centers where they can care for such women. Such women are left devastated, broken, and depressed, and some of them end up being victims of suicidal attempts, and some even commit suicide (4).
Common Women’s Health Issues
There are several health challenges and diseases that both genders can suffer from, however, there are certain diseases that are peculiar to just women such as breast cancer, and cervical cancer, and issues surrounding pregnancy and delivery.
Interestingly, studies have also revealed that women suffer from more heart attacks compared to the opposite gender. Urinary tract infection is commoner among women because of the short length of their urethral, and women are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS (5).
This section is aimed at highlighting and discussing some of the diseases. These are:
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women and one of the leading causes of death in them as well. Medical experts revealed that a lot of women have a phobia of the diagnosis of breast cancer hence most of them present late to the clinic out of such fear.
However, not all lumps or breast changes automatically mean breast cancer as other benign breast diseases could start with a lump such as a fibroadenoma, and are not life-threatening.
Breast cancer is a malignant breast disease that originates from the milk ducts and if not diagnosed and treated early enough is capable of spreading to other places in the body such as the lungs, the liver, and the kidneys this metastasis results in the death of the patient.
Therefore, it is important that women’s health dr talk to women during every clinic visit about the importance of self-breast examination and reporting to the hospital if they notice any funny changes in their breasts (5,6).
The common benign, non-cancerous tumor that affects women are uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are stromal changes of the uterine muscles that mostly affect women of reproductive age groups.
The actual etiology of uterine fibroids is not known, however, there are risk factors that can predispose a woman to fibroids. Examples are:
- – Black race
- – Nulliparity
- – Obesity
- – Use of combined oral contraceptive pills (COCPs)
- – Family history of uterine fibroids
- – High levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
- – However, women with fibroids manifest signs and symptoms such as;
- – Asymptomatic in 60% of women
- – Abdominal swelling
- – Abnormal uterine bleeding called menorrhagia
- – Abdominal pain
- – Urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency, and dysuria
- – Constipation
Reproductive issues such as infertility may be the first sign in asymptomatic women. Others are hydronephrosis on ultrasound, leg swelling, and varicose veins (7).
The physicians for women’s health who are specialists called the gynecologist at the women’s health center are responsible for the management of women with uterine fibroids, and the treatment can be medical or surgical. But, most often than not, the surgical approach is often employed especially in women already presenting with infertility.
Research has proven that 25% of women’s death recorded in the united states is a result of heart disease. And unfortunately, not all women are enlightened about this silent killer.
On average, 49% of female consumers in the united states suffers from elevated blood pressure, and hypertension has been recorded as the leading cause of heart diseases in both gender, alongside other risk factors like being black, having high cholesterol level, and smoking.
It is therefore important that women’s health dr educate their clients about how to avoid these risk factors especially women with a family history of heart diseases.
A lot of women cannot differentiate cervical cancer from ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancers affect the ovaries and originate from the fallopian tubes while cervical cancers have to do with cancer of the cervix in the lowermost part of the uterus.
While both manifest similar symptoms, cervical cancer causes contact bleeding during sexual intercourse, and patient with late-stage ovarian cancer has a characteristic foul-smelling odor from their vagina.
With the use of a pap smear, and a cancer screening test, patient at risk of cervical cancer can be picked early and treatment initiated early for the ones who are already diagnosed but still asymptomatic (5).
In the united states, sexual violence is a very important topic of discussion and a crime. Sexual violence occurs when a woman doesn’t consent to sexual activity, which occurs under force or coercion. This has led to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in women.
Sexual violence however is not limited to just gender, both men and women can be violated sexually, but, women are mostly at the receiving end of sexual abuse or violence. And the abuser is not always a stranger, the abuser can be a family, coworker, or neighbor.
Women’s Health Issues: How To Improve Women’s Health
It is therefore encouraged that every women’s health and wellness center should provide a unit to help women in this category both medically and legally. A page can also be dedicated to sexual abuse on the women’s health portal to help women report cases of sexual abuse for women who are shy of coming out to speak physically or women afraid of being stigmatized due to ignorance (7).
Steps To Improve The Health Of Women
The following are steps women can take to improve to promote healthy living and improve their health:
- – Regular exercise and physical activities
- – Adequate sleep
- – Routine health screening and check-ups
- – Avoid smoking
- – Healthy diet and nutrition
- – Effective stress management (12).
Screening Tests For Women’s Health
Due to the more complex nature of women’s anatomy, there are several and more screening tests available to help in the early detection of certain diseases in women. Health screening aid in the early diagnosis of diseases in women which will stimulate early treatment and cure where possible.
The following are some of the health screening tests available for women:
- – Blood pressure
Regular checking of blood pressure will help to detect women with elevated blood pressure, and hypertension. Hypertension is a risk factor for several heart diseases, and early diagnosis and treatment of hypertension will help to prevent such complications.
- – Pap smear
A pap smear is a screening test that requires sample collection from the cervix to check for epithelial cell changes in the cervix which can be the first signal of cervical cancer in women. And it is encouraged that women with a family history of cervical cancer and other high-risk women should get a pap smear done regularly when due.
- – Mammography
A mammogram is used to check the breast of women for any epithelial changes that may be worrisome to rule out breast cancer in such women. Mammogram is usually used for women above 35 years ago because of the breast density.
However, the American cancer society recommends that women from 45 years of age should start annual screening with mammograms because of the high risk of breast cancer in the age group. Women with a family history of breast cancer will however be scheduled appropriately by their women’s health doctor.
- – Dual-energy x-ray absorption or absorptiometry
This is also referred to as DEXA, it is used to check bone density in women because of the high risk of osteoporosis, especially in women from 65 years of age.
Osteoporosis can lead to pathological fracture in women if not diagnosed early and studies have revealed that this occurs as a result of low levels of estrogen in women, especially women with a family history (10).
Other screening tests for women are:
- – Cholesterol screening
- – Colorectal cancer screening
- – A rapid diagnostic test to screen for HIV/AIDS
- – Fasting or random blood glucose to rule out diabetes mellitus
- – Eye test for cataracts or glaucoma (11).
The Women’s Health Center
The women’s health and wellness center is a specialized clinic/hospital focused on caring for the health of women. It is usually a specialized obstetrics and specialized clinic, with well-trained physicians for women’s health. The physicians for women’s health are dedicated to supporting women and providing the best care as needed by the individual patient.
The services offered by the women’s health center include:
- – Obstetrics
- – Gynecology
- – Aesthetics
- – Minor and major surgical procedures (8).
To locate the best women’s health center, google search online for the closest to your location, sign in on their women’s health portal to get registered, and schedule yourself for a physical or an online consultation.
The online women’s health portal also provides every woman with the required resources to promote healthy living and prevent some of the diseases that affect women. Some of the resources available on the women’s health portal include a nutritional guide, a fitness guide, activities, and guide for a positive lifestyle modification (9).