Attention, ladies: the harsh truth is, being a woman is tough. From unique women’s health issues to the relentless impact of hormonal changes, navigating the complexities of our health can feel like an uphill battle. It’s time to confront the challenge head-on.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) emphasizes the need for prioritizing health in women and finding ways of improving women’s health. And we’re here to guide you through it. Brace yourselves for a journey into the realities of female health, uncovering the issues, and discovering actionable steps to embrace vitality in our modern world.
Let’s transform the struggle into strength with your daily dose of #GirlPower.
Life Stages of Women
Understanding the different stages in a woman’s life provides a more comprehensive picture of females’ health and identifies different health necessities.
Based on biology, the life stages can be broken down into infancy, puberty (adolescence), sexual maturation (reproductive age), climacteric period, and post-climacteric (elderly) years. During these periods, hormones change.
Hormones play an important role during a woman’s life, and will affect women differently. You’ll hear it throughout, but hormones, specifically the female sex hormone estrogen, have a direct impact on health.
As a girl enters puberty and menstruation begins, the levels of hormones, that is estrogen, begin to increase. They peak during sexual maturation and begin to decrease during the climacteric period.
Within each of these life stages, different life events can alter hormones, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, and even just the normal monthly menstrual cycle.
Women’s Health Issues: Heart Disease and Breast Cancer For Example
The female body deals with more hormonal changes throughout their life compared to their male counterparts. And for that reason, deal with specialized health concerns.
A study from Norway found that even though women have healthier lifestyles and live longer, they are plagued with more sickness in their lives. The following are some of the top women’s health issues we deal with:
It is the number one cause of death for women. Among American women, about one in every five deaths is caused by heart disease and heart attacks.
Once women hit menopause and estrogen decreases, the amount of bad cholesterol increases, as well as higher levels of triglycerides.
This deadly combination puts women more at risk, with concerns around blood pressure and cholesterol.
Annually, 55,000 more women suffer from strokes than men. The chance of strokes increases with age, and women have a longer life expectancy.
However, during their life, women face certain risk factors that increase their chances of having a stroke. These include high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia) and hormonal birth control medication (the pill) coupled with smoking.
The complications involved with diabetes can be more severe, increasing the risk of heart disease by four times for women. Females are at a higher risk of diabetes-related health complications, including but not limited to blindness and kidney disease. It also impacts periods, making cycles longer and heavier.
99% of all breast cancer cases are in women. It is the second leading cause of cancer death of women (only beaten by lung cancer).
Women have more breast cells and tissue that are continually exposed to the growth-promoting effects of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Women need to frequently self-examine and keep up to date with their doctor’s appointments to ensure breast health.
Detecting cancer in its early stages can help increase the chances of survival. Screening and increased awareness of the disease have helped lower the death rate, but it is still very deadly. Almost 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women during 2023.
Cervical cancer and ovarian cancer are other health risks for women.
Osteoporosis is more common in older women. Women are more at risk for developing this condition in their lifetime for two main reasons. Biologically, females’ skeletal makeup is usually smaller, thinner, and less dense compared to males.
And when women hit menopause, the hormone involve in that process has a direct, negative effect on bone density.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women. Scientists and doctors are still trying to determine why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, whether those factors are biological, social, or cultural, or perhaps a mix of more than one.
While there is still much to understand about this degenerative disease, it is important to be aware of the early warning signs. These include memory loss, difficulties with problem solving, confusion, difficulty completing common tasks, problems speaking and writing words, misplacing things, decreased judgement, social withdrawal, and mood changes.
Maternal Health Issues
The female body has the incredible ability to grow a new human, with pregnancy and childbirth seen as a superpower. However, with this ability comes some very real health concerns. To name a few: gestational diabetes, hypertension, anemia, and morning sickness.
That is why it is extra important to pay attention to health during pregnancy for both the mother’s and the baby’s sake. Even before pregnancy and while prenatal, maintaining gynecological health is important.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and Gynecological Health
Because of female anatomy, UTIs and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common in women. Women may not see the symptoms of STIs as easily or early on as men—as these infections go undetected, it can lead to further health problems and fertility issues, potentially infertility.
Pregnant women with STI’s are also at risk of passing that disease onto their child. An additional emphasis needs to be placed on reproductive health in women.
Steps for Women to Improve their Health and Lifestyle
We’ll say it: being a woman is hard. And as a result, that is why focusing on health is of the utmost importance.
Below outlines some action items for living a healthy lifestyle, and in turn, improving overall health:
- Visit your doctor for your annual well-check. Women require different health tests as they age, such as mammograms, pap smear, and bone density scans, so it is important that they stay up to date on these tests. Having conversations early and often with health care providers can help detect issues earlier on.
- Focus on your physical activity levels. Working out can be daunting for women, with gym cultural predominantly masculine. But that shouldn’t stop you! If you are new to working out, trying going on a brisk walk or joining a local community gym where they might have group classes tailored to women.
- Eat healthy. Having a healthy diet is the first step to being healthy and happy. Opt for nutrient-rich foods to help work towards fulfilling your daily micronutrient needs. Click to learn more about staying healthy and protected in our digital world.
- Practice healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to the steps above, avoid risk behaviors, which include texting while driving, unprotective sex, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking.
In the pursuit of a vibrant and healthy life, it’s evident that females face unique health challenges. Amidst the plethora of strategies to promote well-being, one effective avenue stands out: supplements for women.
Supplementing with necessary nutrients ensures that we not only meet our daily requirements but also fortify ourselves against the specific women’s health issues we may encounter throughout life. Embracing the power of tailored supplements becomes a proactive step towards achieving holistic health and positive health outcomes.
So, let’s champion women’s (and men’s, we didn’t forget about you!) well-being by recognizing the role of supplements in nurturing vitality and empowering them on their journey to optimal health.
Also, check out our blog post on women’s mental health!