Three Women’s Health Issues You Shouldn’t Ignore

First stages of menopause

It is easy for womens health issues to take a backseat to the demands of life. Too many women neglect nagging issues and leave them for too long, but it is important not to ignore the signs and symptoms that something is happening to your body. Here are three womens health issues every woman should know about:

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

As much as 8% to 20% of the global female population suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) — in fact the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Association estimates there are over 7 million sufferers in the US alone. PCOS impacts a number of areas of a woman’s health including her hormones, her fertility, her menstrual cycle, heart, blood vessels and even her appearance. It is a disease that has serious impact on a woman’s life. PCOS results in the formation of cysts in the ovaries and other symptoms such as irregular or absent periods, excessive hair growth, hormonal imbalances and other things. It also puts sufferers at increased risk of other health challenges such as heart attack and diabetes.

Infertility

Most of us take starting a family for granted, but many couples are faced with difficulties conceiving. PCOS can be one cause of infertility but there are many others — and of course, infertility does not only affect women. Having conceived once is not a guarantee of fertility either. In fact, as much as 11% of pairs trying to conceive may suffer from what is called secondary fertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Secondary infertility is difficulty in conceiving among those who already have one child. There are a number of possible reasons for infertility or difficulty conceiving; smoking — even just five cigarettes a day — is one such cause and can impact both women and men. There is hope, though, as a variety of possible treatments, from intra-uterine insemination to medicine, surgery or other assistive reproductive techniques can be used to help coupes struggling to have a baby. It is also important not to give up too soon or to rush to the conclusion that infertility is the problem. Under 35s should wait at least a year before seeking help.

Menopause

Like having children, menopause is seen as a natural part of life and often the impact of this change in physical and emotional wellbeing is underestimated and downplayed. The average age of menopausal onset remains the same, despite the fact that women are living longer. Most women start between 41 and 58 with the mean age set at about 51, but there can be extremes of either sides with some women starting as late as their mid-60s and others beginning as early as their 30s. Early onset menopause can result from a number of factors including stresses such as financial hardship or lifelong depression, studies conducted in 2003 found. Prior to menopause, a period of perimenopause which sees women experiencing inconsistent cycles of menstruation can occur for as much as 90% of women; perimenopause lasts on average four years. Management of menopause can be a controversial issue with increasing resistance to therapies to make the transition easier, yet hormone therapy, which is often criticized, is relatively safe, especially for those in their 50s who are starting menopause. Studies have found that such treatment is safe for a period as long as five years and does increase the risk of heart problems. Users should ensure that they are tested for risk factors — breast cancer or high blood pressure, for example.

These three womens health issues are not the only reasons to seek medical support and advice, but they each have the potential to significantly impact on the quality of life of sufferers and can be addressed through some medical interventions. Gynecologists who specialize in womens health and infertility solutions can explain the options available and help sufferers find the right option for them. While not every problem can be completely resolved, getting clear answers and understanding what can be done can make all the difference.

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