Common diseases in women

Health Issues Specific to Women’s Health

While both men and women contract various conditions, some health issues affect women differently and more commonly. Furthermore, many women’s health conditions go undiagnosed and most drug trials do not include female test subjects. Even so, women bear exclusive health concerns, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, menopause, and pregnancy. Women suffer higher heart attack deaths compared to men. Depression and anxiety exhibit more frequently among female patients. Urinary tract conditions present more often in females, and sexually transmitted diseases can cause more harm to women. Among the conditions that present most frequently in women, the following eight illnesses pose considerable health risks.

Heart Disease

In the United States, heart disease causes one in every four deaths among women. Although the public considers heart disease a common issue among men, the condition affects males and females nearly equally. Yet, only 54 percent of women realize that heart disease is the top health condition threatening their gender. In the United States, 49 percent of all consumers suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoke; factors that contribute to heart disease.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer, which typically originates in the lining of the milk ducts, can spread to other organs, and is the most aggressive cancer affecting the global female population. The condition presents more among female populations in developed nations due to their extended life spans.

Initially, women afflicted with breast cancer may develop breast lumps. Most breast lumps are nonthreatening, but it is important for women to have each one checked by a care provider.

Ovarian and Cervical Cancer

Many people are not aware of the differences between ovarian and cervical cancer. Cervical cancer originates in the lower uterus, while ovarian cancer starts in the fallopian tubes. While both conditions cause similar pain, cervical cancer also causes discharge and pain during intercourse.

While ovarian cancer presents extremely vague symptoms, the condition is very complex. Finally, Pap smears detect cervical but not ovarian cancer.

Gynecological Health

Bleeding and discharge are a normal part of the menstrual cycle. However, added symptoms during menstruation may indicate health issues, and unusual symptoms, such as bleeding between menstruations and frequent urinating, can mimic other health conditions.

Vaginal issues could also indicate serious problems such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or reproductive tract cancer. While care providers might treat mild infections easily, if left unchecked, they can lead to conditions such as infertility or kidney failure.

Pregnancy Issues

Pre-existing conditions can worsen during pregnancy, threatening the health of a mother and her child. Asthma, diabetes, and depression can harm the mother and child during pregnancy if not managed properly.

Pregnancy can cause a healthy mother’s red blood cell count to drop, a condition called anemia, or induce depression. Another problem arises when a reproductive cell implants outside the uterus, making further gestation unfeasible. Fortunately, obstetricians can manage and treat common and rare health issues that emerge during pregnancies.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune disease occurs when body cells that eliminate threats, such as viruses, attack healthy cells. As this condition continues to escalate among the population, researchers remain baffled as to why the condition affects mostly women. While many distinct autoimmune diseases exist, most share symptoms such as:

● Exhaustion
● Mild fever
● Pain
● Skin irritation
● Vertigo

Most of the autoimmune system rests in the stomach. Duly, many who suffer from this condition have resorted to natural healing practices, such as:

● Consuming less sugar
● Consuming less fat
● Lowering stress
● Reducing toxin intake

However, the best defense against autoimmune disease is early detection.

Osteoporosis weakens bones, allowing them to break easily. Several factors can cause the condition that occurs mostly in women, such as:

● Age
● Alcohol consumption
● Certain prescriptions
● Genetics
● Lack of exercise
● Low body mass
● Smoking
● Steroid use

To detect the condition, care providers measure bone density using an X-ray or ultrasound diagnostic. While no cure exists for osteoporosis, care providers can prescribe treatment to impede illness progression, which might include dietary supplements, healthy lifestyle choices, or prescription medication.

Depression and Anxiety

Natural hormonal fluctuations can lead to depression or anxiety. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occurs commonly among women, while premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD) presents similar, but greatly intensified, symptoms. Shortly after birth, many mothers acquire a form of depression called the “baby blues,” but perinatal depression causes similar – but much stronger – concerns, emotional shifts, sadness, and tiredness. Perimenopause, the shift into menopause, can also cause depression. No matter how intense the symptoms, care providers can provide relief with prescription or therapeutic treatments.

Health Technology for Women

Soon, new technologies will emerge to assist care providers in treating women’s health conditions. Researchers have developed innovative medical treatments, such as a patient operated device that prepares women for breast reconstruction using carbon dioxide instead of needles and a blood test that can detect whether gestation has started outside of the fallopian tubes. Other developing medical technologies include an at home, do-it-yourself Pap smear and a test that determines pregnancy using saliva as a sample.

Women can lower the risk for cancers and other common illnesses with healthy habits and regular care provider visits. However, in many underserved communities nurse practitioners (NPs) and nurse midwives fill the shortage created by lack of care providers, while covering service areas encompassing far too many clients. As America’s health care needs increase, care provider organizations will need many more NPs to ensure positive health outcomes for women in these communities.

Learn More

Providing medical services takes skill. Serving more than half of the U.S. population takes specialized expertise. That’s where the online Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Women’s Health Nursing Practice makes its mark. With Regis online WHNP MSN, you can learn to treat women’s specialized health needs across their life cycle.

Recommended Readings

The Importance of Health Promotion for Family Nurse Practitioners
The Unique Need for Women’s Health NPs
Best Practices to Promote Cultural Awareness


U.S. National Library of Medicine
Center for Disease Control adn Prevention
Medical News Today
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance
Aria – Jefferson Health
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – USDA
National Institutes of Health
MIT Technology Review
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

What health issues or conditions are specific to women only?

Women experience unique health issues and conditions, from pregnancy and menopause to gynecological conditions, such as uterine fibroids and pelvic floor disorders. The health topics listed below affect women only. Some other conditions affect men too but affect women primarily or more severely. Because women’s health is so broad, these health topics include links to access more information within the NICHD’s website.

Gynecological health and disorders affecting women include menstruation and menstrual irregularities; urinary tract health, including urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders; and such disorders as bacterial vaginosis,vaginitis, uterine fibroids, and vulvodynia.

Pregnancy issues include pre-pregnancy care and prenatal care, pregnancy loss (miscarriage and stillbirth), preterm labor and premature birth, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), breastfeeding, and birth defects.

Disorders related to infertility include uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and primary ovarian insufficiency.

Other disorders and conditions that affect only women include Turner syndrome, Rett syndrome, and ovarian and cervical cancers.

Issues related to women’s overall health and wellness include violence against women, women with disabilities and their unique challenges, osteoporosis and bone health, and menopause.

Female-Specific Health Problem Symptoms, Causes and Effects

Women’s health problems are often misunderstood, and many women don’t get the medical attention they need and deserve because there is simply not enough information available to them. To take control of your health, it is important to first understand the various health issues affecting women at various stages of life.

What Are the Types of Female Health Disorders?

While women are prone to many of the same health issues as men, there are certain issues that affect women exclusively or predominately. Disorders that exclusively affect women include menopause, postpartum depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Women are also more likely to suffer from depression than men and for different reasons. It is important to understand these important women’s health issues in order to take control of your own medical care. Preventative care is the best way to stay healthy, and by being aware of the signs and symptoms of women’s health issues before they develop, you can stay healthy longer.


All women go through menopause, typically once they have passed through their childbearing years. Menopause simply means that the body’s reproductive system is no longer in the phase where it releases eggs for fertilization or builds a home for a potential fetus in the uterine wall. The ovaries stop releasing eggs during menopause, so there is no reason for the uterus to collect or shed the lining of blood and mucous that results in menstrual flow.

The average age of onset for menopause is 51, but some women go through the change much earlier or later. Menopause can also be forced by a procedure known as a hysterectomy, in which the entire uterus is removed for medical purposes. Menopause can also be induced through the use of hormones. Many perimenopausal and post-menopausal women choose to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which balances out hormonal changes to prevent a significant difference in mood, hair growth, weight and libido. Some common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause included:

  • Hot flashes
  • Depression
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression occurs immediately or shortly after a woman gives birth. While it is normal for women to feel sad or even depressed after giving birth or experiencing a miscarriage, postpartum depression is severe and lasts for months. Even women who are excited about having a baby and have plenty of familial support can develop postpartum depression. It is important to remember that if you are experiencing the symptoms of postpartum depression, it does not mean you do not love your child. Mothers suffering from postpartum depression may have difficulty bonding to their newborn child and feel a sense of helplessness. This is common, but it is a serious issue that requires medical treatment.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

PMDD, commonly mistaken for the less serious PMS, is a condition that causes severe anxiety, depression, discomfort, pain and tension prior to menstruation. It is estimated that between 3 to 8 percent of women in their childbearing years experience PMDD. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a serious condition that can cause significant discomfort for a woman before her period. The depression that accompanies PMDD is often severe and, in some cases, debilitating.


Depression occurs when someone feels a sense of lethargy, apathy, boredom, sadness or general malaise for a significant period of time. While it is normal to have depressed periods throughout your life, depressed periods that last longer than six weeks are indicative of a more serious issue. Contrary to popular belief, many people with depression are not sad at all. In fact, they may have trouble feeling any emotions at all. A common sign of depression is to lose interest in things you once enjoyed.

Of the millions of Americans who suffer from depression, 70 percent of them are women. One possible reason for this is that women tend to be caregivers, and the added burden of seeing to the well-being of elderly parents, children and others can lead to feelings of helplessness. Others feel overwhelmed, which can lead to depression as well.

If you or a female loved one is suffering from depression, it is important to know there are treatment options available. Call our 24/7 hotline at . Our friendly advisors are happy to provide information about the treatment options available to you.

Other Disorders, Diseases and Problems

Women also suffer from other diseases related to the female reproductive system. Breast, ovarian and uterine cancers are some of the most common illnesses that affect women, although men can develop breast cancer as well. In addition, there are other illnesses and problems that affect women at a much higher rate than men. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in nearly every age bracket,

What Causes Women’s Health Disorders?

Women’s health disorders are caused by a variety of factors. Individual lifestyle, genetics, hormonal imbalances, age and ethnicity can all play a role in which women’s health disorders affect an individual woman. It is important to establish a relationship with a trusted general care physician who knows your family medical history in order to get a clear idea of which women’s health issues you are most at risk for and learn how to prevent their onset.

What Are the Signs of a Health Disorder in Females?

The signs of a health disorder in females vary somewhat between individuals, but there are some common red flags to look out for. If you notice any significant changes in weight, the appearance of your hair and skin, mood shifts, or a change in sleeping habits, it is important to speak with your doctor. Heart disease is known as the silent killer of women because its symptoms often manifest much more subtly in women than they do in men.

Emotional Symptoms of Female Health Problems

Female health problems can lead to numerous emotional side effects, particularly shortly after diagnosis. If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with a female health problem, it is important to find a good support network. You may experience emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety and lethargy, all of which are common reactions to a recently discovered health problem.

Physical Symptoms of Female Health Problems

Physical symptoms are often the first way that women are alerted to a female health problem. Changes in your menstrual cycle, sleeping habits, general appearance and weight gain can all be indicators of a serious health problem, and they should be discussed with a doctor as soon as possible.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Mental Health Instability

Mental health instability is a serious problem with both long-term and short-term effects. In the short-term, the affected person may exhibit erratic behavior or have a loss of appetite. In the long-term, deep depression and anxiety begin to set in and permanent personality changes become noticeable to friends and family.

Is There a Test or Self-Assessment I Can Do?

While there are various diagnostic tools online, the best way to determine whether you have a women’s health issue is to visit your doctor. Only a medical professional can run the proper tests necessary to determine whether you have a particular condition. If you would like help finding the medical resources you need to become knowledgeable about your health, call our toll-free hotline at for more information today.

Medication: Drug Options for Women’s Health Issues

Many women’s health issues respond well to pharmaceutical treatment. From antidepressants to hormone therapy, it is important to become knowledgeable about the various drug options before you begin a course of treatment.

Mental Health Drugs: Possible Options

Antidepressants are some of the most common prescriptions given for women’s health issues as they can be used to treat postpartum depression, general depression, PMDD and certain symptoms of menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also commonly prescribed to women experiencing perimenopause.

Medication Side Effects

All medications have side effects, and even if the benefits outweigh the potential negatives of taking a medication, it is still important to know what to expect. Some common side effects of medications include drowsiness, nausea, heartburn and dizziness.

Drug Addiction, Dependence and Withdrawal

Unfortunately, it is possible to become addicted to prescriptions that were legitimately obtained for common women’s health issues. In these circumstances, it is important not to change your dosage or quit any medication without proper medical consultation. Abruptly stopping a medication can lead to serious side effects and withdrawal. Consult your doctor immediately.

Medication Overdose

Medication overdose occurs when a higher-than-prescribed dosage of medication is consumed, often leading to harmful and even life-threatening side effects. Medication overdose can be avoided by only taking the recommended amount of both prescribed and over-the-counter medication and consulting a medical professional before changing your dosage.

Depression and Mental Health in Women

Women are 70 percent more likely to experience severe clinical depression than men. Postpartum depression is a common form of depression in women, but depression can be triggered by many factors at any age. Even if you never experienced depression as a teenager, it is possible to develop the symptoms of severe clinical depression later in life. Women who notice symptoms of depression lasting for longer than six weeks should consult their doctor about potential treatment options for their health problems.

Dual Diagnosis: Addiction and Women’s Health Disorders

Many women with health disorders also develop some form of substance addiction. Whether the addiction is to drugs, alcohol or a specific behavior, it is a damaging and often life-threatening force. If you or a loved one is experiencing the effects of an addiction in conjunction with another health disorder, it is important to seek help before the addiction can cause harm.

Getting Help for a Female Health Issue

Dealing with a female health issue is difficult, and you may often feel alone during the learning process. Education is essential, but it is often hard to sift through all the false information available online to get to truly helpful material. Call our toll-free hotline at today, and let our knowledgeable representatives connect you with the quality information you need to take a proactive role in your health.

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