We’ve all been troubled by health complications. From simple infections to serious deficiencies, they can really bog us down. However, when it comes to health conditions women have gotten the shorter end of the stick.
Here are a few illnesses that are more common in women as compared to men along with what you should watch out for.
Nearly 80% of all osteoporosis patients are women. By design, women are believed to have smaller and thinner bones, thus increasing the chances of breakage.
Additionally, when menopause hits, levels of estrogen in the body fall sharply. This hormone is responsible for maintaining bone mineral density. And, when estrogen levels go down, women lose minerals from their bones, making them porous and susceptible to breakage.1
If you are going through menopause, it is advised that you get a bone mineral density scan done to check for any potential signs of osteoporosis.
id="2-psychological-disorders">2. Psychological Disorders
It is believed that women are more susceptible to depression than men. In fact studies show that a third of all women may experience a major depressive disorder in their lifetime.2But, depression isn’t the only thing that plagues women.
Certain types of depression are specific to women.3 These include
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): This is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome which leads to irritability, anger, depressed mood, sadness, suicidal thoughts, appetite changes, bloating, breast tenderness, and joint or muscle pain.
- Perinatal Depression: Pregnant women often experience mood swings. But, perinatal depression is an severe condition that hits during or after (postpartum) pregnancy and causes feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion.
- Perimenopausal Depression: This refers to the transition into menopause which causes abnormal periods, problems sleeping, mood swings, and hot flashes.
So, if you’ve been feeling low, sad, or tired, it is worth meeting a professional to seek help.
id="3-migraine-headaches">3. Migraine Headaches
Statistics state that 75% of all migraine sufferers are women. And, this could be attributed to changing estrogen levels in women. From puberty until menopause, the frequency and incidence of a migraine attack steadily rise in women.4
So, if you’re often down with a headache that makes it hard to focus on everyday activities, do consult a professional at the earliest.
4. Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence is described as the unexpected, uncontrolled and unintended loss of urine through the bladder. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and pelvic muscle prolapse can all cause incontinence in women.
Luckily, urinary incontinence can be treated easily. So, if you do have this condition, do consult a professional. Your doctor might advise you to try certain Kegel exercises. And, rare cases might necessitate a surgery.5
Inability to fall asleep, staying asleep for too long, and fitful sleep, all fall under insomnia. Changing hormone levels can influence the quality of sleep in women. As a result, women are more likely to have insomnia than men.6
Over time, insomnia can lead to lack of focus at work, fatigue, falling asleep at odd hours, and even certain illnesses. Hence, it is worth identifying chronic, unhealthy sleep patterns and correcting them early on.
6. Autoimmune Diseases
Women seem to be more prone to autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.7This could be because their bodies have a greater immune response to infection, disease, and even vaccination.
Although women are more susceptible to these disease, it’s important to remember that just because you’re at a greater risk of these disease mean that you will get any of them. Lifestyle changes can prevent and treat most such conditions. All that you need to do is be aware of the changes in your health (both physical and mental) and consult a professional whenever you feel like something’s amiss.
|↑1||What Women Need to Know. National Osteoporosis Foundation.|
|↑2||What is Depression? American Psychiatric Association.|
|↑3||Depression in Women: 5 Things You Should Know. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑4||Migraine in a women’s health issue. Migraine Research Foundation.|
|↑5||Bladder Control Problems in Women (Urinary Incontinence). U.S.
|↑6||Women and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑7||Whitacre, Caroline C., Stephen C. Reingold, Patricia A. O’looney, Elizabeth Blankenhorn, Floyd Brinley, Elaine Collier, Pierre Duquette et al. “A gender gap in autoimmunity.” Science 283, no. 5406 (1999): 1277-1278.|
|↑8||Fairweather, DeLisa, Sylvia Frisancho-Kiss, and Noel R. Rose. “Sex differences in autoimmune disease from a pathological perspective.” The American journal of pathology 173, no. 3 (2008): 600-609.|