Women are made up of all sorts of unique and complicated pieces of machinery, and as such, they are often faced with specific health issues. EveryWoman Day looks to raise awareness of these specific issues, many of which are little-known and under-researched. Women’s health issues can affect the quality of life and in worst case scenarios be potentially life-threatening, so it’s important that women are able to find the help and support they need through campaigns such as EveryWoman Day.
EveryWoman Day – Tackling “Women’s Troubles”
Problems relating to the most intimate regions of a woman’s body are often considered unsuitable topics of discussion. Many women are afraid to step past the boundaries and discuss things that may make them feel uncomfortable. As such, you may find that you are unaware of the following facts regarding what is subtly termed “women’s troubles”:
- Infertility problems affect up to 1 in 8 women in the UK
- Causes of infertility can include any of the following: polycystic ovary syndrome; thyroid problems; premature ovarian failure; scarring from surgery; cervical mucus problems; fibroids; endometriosis; and pelvic inflammatory disease.
- There are 5 types of gynaecological cancers. These are cancers which affect a woman’s reproductive system: cervical cancer; ovarian cancer; womb cancer; vulval cancer; vaginal cancer.
- Each year in the UK, 21,000 women are told they have some form of gynaecological cancer.
- 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffers from Endometriosis, a condition where the lining of the womb grows in other parts of the body.
- Research into many of the diseases which affect only women is significantly lacking. By raising awareness of women’s health issues, EveryWoman Day aims to change this, whilst also looking to reduce feelings of isolation amongst women suffering from these problems.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Women need to be made aware of signs and symptoms which could signify an underlying health issue. In particular, you should contact your doctor or call 111 if you experience any of the following:
- Irregular periods or no periods at all: This is one symptom of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It could also be a result of extreme weight gain/loss, stress, excessive exercise, or a thyroid disorder.
- Pain during intercourse: This could signify a number of things, including thrush, STIs, and vaginismus. Of the most serious women’s health problems, painful intercourse could also signify polycystic ovaries, fibroids, or forms of gynaecological cancer.
- Spotting or bleeding between periods: This could mean something or nothing. Causes can include vaginal injury, taking an emergency contraceptive, STIs, stress, and vaginal dryness. More serious causes include Polycystic Ovaries, cervical cancer, womb cancer, or polyps.
- Abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea: This is a common symptom of ovarian cancer, but can also have a number of less serious causes. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include pressure in the pelvis or lower back, changes in bowel movement, and tiredness or low energy.
Know Your Own Body
These are just a small selection of possible symptoms which can occur as a result of a female health problem. The key is to know your own body: if you feel something is wrong or different, do not hesitate to discuss this with your doctor, pharmacist, or with your local Out of Hours service, where appropriate. No one knows your body the way you do, and EveryWoman Day encourages all women to talk about their bodies and the problems they suffer. Whatever your concerns, you are not alone and should not be ashamed or embarrassed to discuss even your most intimate issues should they be causing you worry or concern.
If you prefer to discuss your symptoms before seeing a doctor, you can call NHS Direct on 111. They can then give you informed advice as to whether you should see a doctor, and they can put you through directly to the Out of Hours service.