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Common health concerns specific to, affects millions of women: Expert

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Although women and men share many of the same chronic health problems, women have their own unique health problems that should be given special attention. Due to the chaos of a woman’s daily life, healthy living can take a back seat. It is important that every woman has access to knowledge not only about her reproductive system, but about women’s health conditions related to all aspects of her body. Their awareness can promote healthy lifestyle practices, which in turn are the best way to avoid disease, prolong life, and improve quality of life.

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# Menstruation problems

It is very common for women to have issues with periods, including heavy, scant, missed or irregular periods. Period cramps remain to be another health issue among women.

In general, heavy menstrual bleeding is the menstrual blood loss of more than 80 ml or periods lasting more than seven days. It has been estimated that about 9 to 14 out of 100 women get heavy periods.1 Heavy menstruation problems can interfere with daily life and even result in iron deficiency anaemia in severe cases. Talk to your doctor, if you have heavy menstrual bleeding to rule out the underlying cause.

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Another problem women faces with periods is pre-menstruation syndrome (PMS), which affects 47.8% of reproductive age women worldwide.2 The common symptoms of PMS include changes in appetite, weight gain, abdominal pain, back pain, headache, swelling of the breasts, nausea, constipation, anxiety, mood swings, etc. These symptoms occur within a few days of the start of menstruation.

Besides the above mentioned issues, a rising concern of today’s woman is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a common metabolic and endocrine disorder of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. This disorder is getting prevalent in India that accounts to 3.7 to 22.5% of females.3 Women affected with PCOS are at increased risk of obesity, type II diabetes mellitus, heart disease, infertility, and acne.

# Fertility issues

Latest report revealed that the fertility rate of Indians has come down by more than 50% from 4.97 to 2.3, it will be further reduced to 2.1 during 2025 to 30, and 1.86 from 2045 to 50 and 1.78 from 2095 to 100. Currently, the infertility rate is 10 to 14% which is higher in urban areas where 1 out of 6 couples is affected.

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Various causes responsible for infertility in women are PCOS, contraception complications, abortion infections, STDs, post-partum infections, pelvic inflammatory diseases, etc. Lifestyle problems such as smoking, alcohol, consuming processed food, physical and emotional stress can also play a significant role in infertility.

The problem of infertility can be treated with the help of an expert depending on the underlying cause. There are certain hormone tests, such as FSH test, that your doctor might suggest to get a sneak peek into your condition.

# Thyroid problems

Thyroid disease is twice as prevalent in women as in men and is common among women of child-bearing age (18-35 years).5 Women generally have hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels), in which the metabolism slows down. Symptoms include weight gain, feeling sluggish and tired, etc. On the other side, high thyroid levels can also cause early onset of menopause, before 40 years or in the early 40s.

Besides, pregnancy can raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood and almost 5% to 10% of women suffer from postpartum thyroiditis, which occurs within 1 year after giving birth.

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# Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second important cause of cancer deaths among women. The latest global figures show that around half a million women die from breast cancer each year.8 Various risk factors involved are increasing age, family history, early onset of periods or menopause after 55 years, obesity, etc. Keep yourself educated regarding breast cancer self-examination.

Breast cancer is the second important cause of cancer deaths among women. The latest global figures show that around half a million women die from breast cancer each year.8 Various risk factors involved are increasing age, family history, early onset of periods or menopause after 55 years, obesity, etc. Keep yourself educated regarding breast cancer self-examination.

# Depression

Emerging evidence suggests that women are more prone to experience anxiety, and depression in contrast to men. According to WHO, depression is the most common mental health problem for women and suicide a leading cause of death for women under 60.7

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Depression can last for more than a couple of weeks and interferes with your daily life. Hormonal fluctuations can trigger the condition, especially after pregnancy or around menopause. Other risk factors include family history, marital problems, chronic illness, stressful life event, physical or sexual abuse, etc. Although the majority of people need treatment, few measures such as exercise, spending time with people you trust can also help.

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