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

Female Infertility

For a man and a woman who are having frequent intercourse without using any birth control, the average amount of time that it takes to conceive is six months. Most couples are able to achieve a pregnancy within one year if they have intercourse frequently (twice per week or more often). Between 10% and 15% of couples will continue to have difficulty conceiving after one year of trying. When pregnancy is this slow to occur, the man and woman are diagnosed as infertile. Infertility can be caused by health problems in the man, the woman or both partners. In some infertile couples, no cause can be found to explain the problem. In approximately 20% of couples, more than one cause of the infertility is found. The cause of infertility occurs about as often in men as in women. Normal aging reduces a woman's ability to become pregnant. Ovulation, the process of forming and releasing an egg, becomes slower and less effective. Aging begins to reduce fertility as early as age 30, and pregnancy rates are very low after age 44, even when fertility medications are used. Even though fertility is less reliable for women of older ages, approximately 20% of women in the United States have their first child at or after age 35. (Locked) More »

Preparing for a colonoscopy

Preparation for a colonoscopy involves taking a substance the day before the procedure that induces bowel-clearing diarrhea. It's unpleasant and takes several hours, but adequate preparation can make the process somewhat easier to endure. More »

What to do about fibroids

Uterine fibroids frequently do not cause any symptoms and are generally not dangerous, but they can cause discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding. If medications are not effective, there are surgical options, some of which are minimally invasive. More »

What to do about hemorrhoids

Many people experience the discomfort of hemorrhoids. Often they can be treated effectively with topical products and by eating more fiber. If they persist, surgical options are available. More »

The ups and downs of folic acid fortification

Folic acid is essential to the production of new cells, and helps protect against certain kinds of birth defects, but studies have suggested that an excess of folic acid may contribute to the growth of cancer cells. More »

Making fertility-friendly lifestyle choices

If you are thinking about getting pregnant, you can do many simple, effective things right now to improve your chances of conception, because lifestyle can have profound effects on the reproductive functions of women and men. This means that increasing your fertility potential is something that you both can do without outside help. In addition to adopting a fertility-boosting diet and getting into the fertility zones for weight and exercise, there are a number of lifestyle choices you can make for improving fertility naturally. Tobacco smoking has been linked to reduced fertility in both women and men. In addition, a recent British study has found an association between smoking and stillbirths, low birthweight babies, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A woman who smokes is likely to have less chance of becoming pregnant and giving birth when treated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) than a woman who doesn't smoke. This is especially true if she smokes twenty or more cigarettes a day. A mechanism that may link cigarette smoking and reduced pregnancy rates following IVF is the observation that smoking appears to accelerate the rate of egg loss. Women who smoke have the elevated hormone levels that indicate a depleted supply of eggs and prematurely aged follicles. More »