While the world celebrates women’s achievements in various fields and industries, society should also shed light on the health issues they commonly experience. In doing so, governments can help improve women’s access to healthcare and how girls regard their health.
Aside from childbirth and reproductive issues, women face many other health risks. Young girls and adolescents should be aware of them early on. This will allow them to make healthier choices as they grow up and spread awareness about health issues plaguing women.
That said, here are some crucial facts about women’s health you need to know:
Cervical Cancer Is as Deadly as Breast Cancer
When it comes to cancer among women, people often emphasize breast cancer. But half a million women also die of cervical cancer every year. Most deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where screening and prevention are almost non-existent.
Thankfully, a vaccine against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, is available. If you have access to this vaccine, get your shots. Doctors recommend that all people—including men—get this vaccine from ages 9–11 through 26.
Getting immunized against HPV will allow women to avoid transmitting the virus to anyone they’d have intercourse with. Men who get the shots, on the other hand, can protect themselves from STIs related to HPV. However, the vaccine doesn’t protect against all types of HPV, so men and women should continue having protected intercourse even if they’ve got the vaccine.
More Than 100 Million Women Don’t Have Access to Contraceptives
Women’s lack of access to contraceptives contributes to the growing number of STI and HIV cases. This affects women from age 15 to 44. Hence, not only should schools teach sex education, but the stigma toward sexually active girls should also break. This will help young women and girls get contraceptives for themselves without feeling ashamed.
Women Are More Prone to Mental Illnesses
Depression, anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, and eating disorders affect more women than men. Though many can attribute this to men less likely reporting their mental illness, it doesn’t change that many women suffer. While more men than women die from suicide, suicide attempts are more common among women.
The symptoms of mental illnesses in women also differ from men. Men often suffer from job-related problems due to poor mental health, whereas women experience physical declines. These include fatigue as well as appetite and sleep disturbances.
The differences occur because of sociocultural factors, among others. Society still assigns women as caregivers and homemakers, so more stress is added to their lives. Women and girls are also more vulnerable to sexual abuse than men and boys, creating another contributing factor.
Pregnancy Complications Can Be Fatal
Many often talk about pregnancy as a beautiful and exciting journey for every expectant mother. But it’s a lot darker than that. Pregnancy alters women’s health, putting them at risk for complications, including high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
Women with existing chronic conditions are more at risk for complications. But healthy women aren’t exempted either. Age, bad habits, and mental health problems can all affect a pregnancy’s safety. Women who get pregnant too young or over the age of 35 can experience complications. Of course, smoking, drinking, and drugs can hurt the unborn baby. And mental health problems can affect a woman’s overall health, impacting their pregnancy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 700 women die of childbirth in the United States each year. Hence, women should inform themselves about pregnancy complications before they plan to have a baby.
More Women Than Men Suffer from Chronic Fatigue
Although 1 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue, women are four times more likely than men to suffer from this condition. Because of this, women are more likely to seek chronic fatigue syndrome treatment than men. Chronic fatigue makes even menial tasks unbearable, and the exact causes aren’t discovered yet.
Some people with chronic fatigue report developing it after great physical stress like surgery. A compromised immune system is also suggested as a risk factor. Regardless, more women should understand that their fatigue may be more severe than they think. Therefore, they shouldn’t be pressured to be at their 100% all the time.
Women are already dealing with unfair treatment from various aspects of their lives. You don’t have to add health ignorance to the list of things women do not know. Help raise more awareness about women’s health and boost women empowerment campaigns. This can teach young girls how to care for themselves as they grow up.