In 1995, leaders worldwide convened in Beijing and developed a global strategy to tackle women’s health issues. This plan came to be known as the Beijing Platform for Action. It plays a vital role in shaping healthcare policies worldwide.
However, despite this platform’s efforts and various other organizations committed to improving women’s health, uncountable women remain out of reach of these programs and suffer health issues each day. While socioeconomic factors invariably play a vital role in influencing healthcare access, taboos and societal shame play a significant role in creating barriers. So, more than twenty years after the inception of the Beijing Platform for Action, many women’s health issues go unaddressed or do not receive significant importance.
However, the time for change is now. We need to start addressing these vital issues that adversely affect the lives of so many women worldwide annually. A public health degree can allow interested people to cover a wide range of women’s health-related topics to create maximum awareness and impact. However, when picking a degree program, be sure to check for accreditation from the Council of Education for Public Health. The CEPH accredited online MPH programs can give you a wealth of knowledge to tackle unique women’s health issues.
Below, we’ve listed some of the top women’s health issues that fail to get the attention they deserve – or rather – that require more attention than they currently get to resolve.
Maternal health issues
When we think of pregnancy and childbirth, we think of them being life-changing, positive experiences. Of course, pregnancy can be a wonderful time. Still, it can also be incredibly challenging for both the mother and unborn child if they don’t have access to adequate means for preparation. Without good prenatal and postpartum care, the entire cycle from pregnancy to childbirth can endanger not just the mother’s life but the child’s too.
Pregnancy can be incredibly taxing on the woman’s body and can cause unpleasant symptoms. Morning sickness and persistent aches are just the least of these worries; women can often suffer from anemia, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
Providing the mother with prenatal and postpartum care can reduce maternal deaths and reduce health complications for the infants. It is essential to develop policies and spread awareness for tackling maternal health issues in a better way. When mothers live healthier lives, they can care for their children much better.
Breast and cervical cancer
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women globally. One of the biggest reasons breast cancer claims so many lives annually is that most women don’t know how to conduct a simple self-examination. The self-examination can help you detect cancer in the early stages and get treatment on time. Even though breast cancer claims thousands of lives annually, it is one of the most treatable cancer forms if detected early.
Cervical cancer is yet another issue that claims the lives of thousands of women globally each year. Various risk factors can contribute to this cancer, such as having unsafe sex, having a weakened immune system, or smoking. Many cervical cancer cases go undetected until the patient approaches the last stages. This delay arises primarily due to the stigma associated with the condition. However, prevention and treatment are possible if we challenge norms and speak freely about this issue that haunts thousands of women worldwide.
Sexual health issues
It’s no surprise that women’s sexual health issues often go ignored in discussions, especially in more conservative cultures. However, these diseases are incredibly prevalent and can significantly impact women’s quality of life. While some issues come with being sexually active, many of these issues can occur in women who aren’t as promiscuous.
Endometriosis is an incredibly prevalent and excruciating disorder where women can suffer from excessive pain and bleeding during their periods. It is a condition that affects one in every ten women and can be crippling to deal with. However, in most women, it goes undiagnosed or untreated. Bringing greater attention to this issue can improve the quality of life for many women who suffer in silence.
Furthermore, there are many conditions like vulvodynia and vaginismus that go ignored due to the stigma surrounding sexual conversations. Women’s sexual health issues also include access to contraception. It is essential to allow women greater agency over their bodies and give them the right to make safe choices regarding conception and sexual practice.
As we age, hunched backs, fragility, and tremors become typical. However, osteoporosis is a bone disease that can lead to increased fractures, permanent pain, and limited mobility. While it does affect men, too, more than 80% of patients are women. As women age, they experience a sharp decline in estrogen after reaching menopause. This loss in estrogen can lead to a weakening of the bones gradually. Furthermore, women generally have thinner bones than men, making them much more prone to faster bone decay and breakage.
Many write off osteoporosis symptoms as just another aging-related drawback when it is indeed much more than that. If you experience bone-related pain, a stooped posture, or frequent fractures, it may be time to see a doctor. Diet changes and exercise can help delay the disease’s onset and improve your quality of life.
Mental health issues
There are various reasons why both male and female mental health issues often go ignored and undiagnosed. However, mental health disorders are incredibly prevalent, and women may be predisposed to developing certain conditions more than men.
Women are likelier to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders due to their emotional range and hormones. Changes in hormone levels can cause women to develop various mental health issues such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, perinatal depression, postpartum depression, and premenopause-related depression.
Often people write off these conditions as an ’emotional phase’ while ignoring their biological etiology. Breaking the stigma surrounding such issues can help numerous women lead better, happier lives without being called ‘crazy.’
Although various women’s health issues often go ignored, these are some of the widely-known problems that require more attention. By tackling these issues, women can lead happier, healthier lives. We need to challenge the stigma surrounding these problems and call for better healthcare facilities that cater to the challenges women face.