Women's Health

Women have many unique health concerns — menstrual cycles, pregnancy, birth control, menopause — and that's just the beginning. A number of health issues affect only women and others are more common in women. What's more, men and women may have the same condition, but different symptoms. Many diseases affect women differently and may even require distinct treatment.

We tend to think of breast cancer and osteoporosis as women's health diseases, but they also occur in men. Heart disease in a serious concern to both men and women, but risk factors and approaches to prevention are different. Women may also have specific concerns about aging, caregiving, emotional health issues, and skin care.

Women's Health Articles

Pap Test (Papanicolaou Smear)

The Pap test (Papanicolaou smear) is an examination that is used to detect cervical cancer and precancerous conditions of the cervix. If a Pap test detects a precancerous condition (a change on the surface of the cervix that can lead to cancer), your doctor can treat or remove the abnormal tissue to prevent cervical cancer. If a Pap test detects a cervical cancer in its early stages, it may be possible to treat and cure your cancer before it has a chance to spread. In almost all cases, precancerous changes or cancer on the surface of the cervix are caused by a virus infection called human papilloma virus (HPV). Some types of HPV cause genital warts, and some types of HPV can cause cancer. Most people who are infected with HPV do not have symptoms, but they can spread the virus to others. HPV is spread through sexual contact with an infected person. Women can be tested for HPV. The doctor uses a cotton swab or small brush to collect cells from the surface of the cervix. The sample is sent to the laboratory to be tested for the presence of HPV DNA. (Locked) More »

Wire Localization Biopsy of the Breast

A wire localization biopsy is a type of surgical biopsy. Sometimes an abnormal area will be seen on the mammogram that clearly should be tested for cancer or completely removed from the breast, but this area is not easily felt as a lump on examination. The mammography department can help your surgeon to find the area more easily by using a technique called "wire localization." In this technique, the radiologists (who have had the benefit of seeing the abnormal area on your mammograms) mark the abnormality with a wire that is inserted under your skin into the area of breast that is causing concern. Right afterward, the surgeon can meet you in the operating room and can use the wire to find the abnormal spot in your breast so that he or she can remove it. (Locked) More »

Sexual and gender minorities face unique health risks

Sexual and gender minorities may have higher risks of certain health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. A new study also found that they may be at higher risk for dementia.  There are strategies that can mitigate this risk, including adopting health habits proven to promote heart health, such as a healthy diet, regular screening exams and frequent exercise. Experts also recommend addressing mental health problems quickly and finding a LGBT-friendly provider. More »

Winning the weight battle after menopause

Changes in hormone levels just before and during menopause may cause women to gain weight and to store more weight around their middle, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes can help, but they may not always be enough to make a difference. Some women may need to seek out assistance from a weight-loss professional. (Locked) More »

Does your vagina really need a probiotic?

Many people are taking vaginal probiotics, which are promoted as a means to improve health. But experts say there is little scientific evidence that they work. While probiotic treatments could hold promise, the science isn’t quite there to back up current claims. People who do want to use a vaginal probiotic should be skeptical of claims and be aware that supplements are not regulated, so they may not actually contain promoted ingredients. (Locked) More »

How can I prevent recurrent UTIs?

Preventing frequent urinary tract infections can become more challenging as women age, but drinking lots of water and practicing good hygiene can help prevent them. (Locked) More »