There is so much to know about the woman’s body. And as your body changes with time, you are bound to have questions you never thought of before. Here you can explore a range of women’s health issues or visit our Women’s Health Library for in-depth information on additional topics to help you make important decisions about your health.
Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death for women throughout the world. More women die from heart disease than from cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Alzheimer’s, and accidents combined. More women than men die from strokes every year. But women of all ages can help reduce their risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Urinary incontinence is the accidental release of urine. It can happen when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or jog. Or you may have a sudden need to go to the bathroom but can’t get there in time. Bladder control problems are very common, especially among older adults. They usually don’t cause major health problems, but they can be embarrassing.
The type and frequency of breast cancer screening that is best for you changes as you age. Learn more about the screening options available and the latest recommendations.
Explore information about the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer. For general information about abnormal Pap test results, see the topic Abnormal Pap Test.
Female pelvic pain is pain below a woman’s belly button. It is considered chronic (which means long-lasting) if you have had it for at least 6 months. The type of pain varies from woman to woman. In some women, it is a mild ache that comes and goes. In others, the pain is so steady and severe that it makes it hard to sleep, work, or enjoy life.
Most often, hysterectomy is done to treat problems with the uterus, such as pain and heavy bleeding caused by endometriosis or fibroid tumors. The surgery may also be needed if there is cancer in the uterus, cervix, or ovaries. Some women may have the surgery during childbirth to save their lives if there is heavy bleeding that cannot be stopped. Before you choose to have a hysterectomy, consider all of your treatment options. In many cases, this surgery is a last resort after trying other treatments for the problem.
Explore this health topic for pregnancy information, including planning for labor and delivery. If you aren’t pregnant yet, see the topic Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy. For more information on labor and delivery, see the topic Labor and Delivery.
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. It is usually your body’s way of ending a pregnancy that has had a bad start. The loss of a pregnancy can be very hard to accept. You may wonder why it happened or blame yourself. But a miscarriage is no one’s fault, and you can’t prevent it. For information about the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy but before the baby is born, see the topic Stillbirth.
Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives. About 20 million Americans are currently infected, and about 6 million more get infected each year. HPV is usually spread through sexual contact. Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms, and go away on their own. But HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. In the United States, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year and about 4,000 are expected to die from it.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects your bones. It means that you have bones that are thin and brittle with lots of holes inside them like a sponge. This makes them easy to break. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones (fractures) in the hip, spine, and wrist. These fractures can be disabling and may make it hard for you to live on your own. Osteoporosis affects millions of older adults. It usually strikes after age 60. It’s most common in women, but men can get it too.
Bone thinning occurs as part of aging. After age 30, women begin to lose bone mass. If over time your bones thin so much that they become fragile and in danger of breaking, you have osteoporosis. You can slow bone loss and could even prevent osteoporosis by eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Most women have hot flashes at some point before or after menopause. Hot flashes happen when estrogen levels drop. While some women have few to no hot flashes, others have them many times each day. Hot flashes can be uncomfortable and upsetting. They can lower the quality of your sleep and daily life. But they aren’t a sign of a medical problem. They are a normal response to natural changes in your body.
Explore other Women’s Health topics in the WellSpan Health Library.