In the quest for gender equality, pure biology rules out one area where men and women are the same: health. While men and women do suffer from some of the same health problems and diseases, others affect one gender disproportionately, or don't affect one gender at all. The reasons might be anatomical differences, or behaviors more common to men or women. Plus, medical research hasn't always included women as part of the population studied (and in some cases the research has been cruel and unethical).
Although women in general live longer than men do, that doesn't mean they are healthier. And men have some misconceptions about women's health, as any woman who's despaired at hearing a man say, "Oh, it's just that time of the month," will understand. This list covers essential details about women's health that men — and even some women or nonbinary people — might be in the dark about.
- 174 VOTES
Women’s Heart Disease Signs Are Different From Men’s
A lot of the research on and information available about heart disease focuses on men. Even though the causes, symptoms, and treatment of heart disease differ drastically in women, doctors often treat them following the same guidelines they use for men.
Because women don't always receive the proper medication or treatment plan, 26% of women perish within a year of their first heart attack, compared with 19% of men. It's also important to note that signs of this problem are different in women, including pain in the neck, back, or jaw; nausea and indigestion; palpitations; and a sense of dread - call it women's intuition.
- 279 VOTES
Large Breasts Can Cause Debilitating Back Pain
Breasts can cause a wide array of pain and inconvenience to women in their daily lives. Cup sizes D and above can cause upper back pain by actually altering the spine's curvature, with the excess weight resulting in severe and chronic back pain, poor posture, and spinal deformity.
Bra straps also dig into shoulders, and women with large breasts cannot comfortably take part in some activities. In severe cases, breast reduction surgery eases back pain and might be a woman's only option for a permanent solution.
- 378 VOTES
Excessive Menstrual Bleeding Affects Millions But Often Goes Undiagnosed
Excessive menstrual bleeding, known medically as menorrhagia, affects 9% to 14% of women of reproductive age in North America. Menorrhagia often goes undiagnosed and untreated because women consider it a heavy period rather than a medical issue. This excessive bleeding can cause anemia.
One study found women suffering from menorrhagia had a significantly lower quality of life, mainly due to decreased physical function and fatigue levels - not to mention the increased cost for feminine products. These periods are not a minor inconvenience that only lasts a couple of days.
- 486 VOTES
Women Often Aren’t Taken Seriously In Emergency Rooms
A long-held systemic belief suggests women complain more about pain or have a lower pain tolerance than men. Research shows the healthcare system maintains this bias. Healthcare providers are more likely to initially discount a woman's verbal description of pain and treat women less aggressively.
Women also wait longer in the emergency room for the same symptoms. Nationally, men with abdominal pain wait an average of 49 minutes for treatment while women wait 65.
- 572 VOTES
UTIs Are Incredibly Uncomfortable And Incredibly Common
Women are much more likely to have a urinary tract infection than men - about eight times more likely. Women have shorter urethras, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. Intimate relations can lead to bacteria entering the urethra. After a woman has one UTI, she is more likely to get another one.
Urinary tract infections can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating and a persistent feeling of needing to urinate. Left untreated, UTIs can lead to serious problems, such as permanent kidney damage and sepsis - which could be life-threatening. That's why some women insist on going to the bathroom after intimate relations.
- 654 VOTES
HPV Is The Leading Cause Of Cervical Cancer
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common STI, with approximately 80% of intimately active people having it at some point in their lives. While HPV is actually more prevalent in men, it does not pose as great a health risk to them as it does to women.
While most women who get HPV will not get cervical cancer, almost all cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV. The disease often has no signs or symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. A vaccine is available for HPV, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends 11- to 12-year-old girls get two doses of it to help prevent cancer.