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

Fibroids

A fibroid is a lump or growth in the uterus that is not cancerous. Fibroids can be as small as a pea to as large as a basketball. They are usually round and pinkish in color, and they can grow anywhere inside or on the uterus. About 30% of women older than 30 years have fibroids, and they usually appear between the ages of 35 and 45. Some women are more likely to get fibroids, including black women, women who have never been pregnant and women who have a mother or sister with fibroids. The cause of fibroids is unknown. However, the female hormone estrogen seems to play a role in stimulating the growth of some fibroids. (Locked) More »

Bartholin's Gland Cyst

A cyst is a sac filled with liquid or semisolid material that forms under the skin or somewhere inside the body. The Bartholin's gland is one of two small glands on each side of the labia minora, just outside of the opening to the vagina. During sexual arousal, the Bartholin's gland releases a lubricating fluid. A Bartholin's gland cyst develops when the gland becomes blocked. The Bartholin's gland can become blocked for a variety of reasons, such as infection, inflammation or long-term irritation. (Locked) More »

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding, also called anovulatory bleeding, is any bleeding from the vagina that varies from a woman's normal menstrual cycle. The normal cycle is triggered by signals from hormones. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding occurs when the cycle's hormonal signals get thrown off. This can include alternating periods that are heavy and light, spotting or unpredictable shorter and longer cycles. (Locked) More »

Nabothian Cysts

Nabothian cysts are cysts filled with mucus that look like tiny bumps on the surface of the cervix. They are usually 2 millimeters to 10 millimeters in diameter, and they contain mucus that ranges in color from pale yellow to amber. In most cases, nabothian cysts occur when new tissue regrows on the cervix after childbirth. This new tissue blocks the openings of the cervix's nabothian glands, trapping their mucous secretion in tiny pockets under the skin. Nabothian cysts are a normal finding on the cervix of women who have had children. They also are seen in menopausal women whose cervical skin has thinned with age. Less often, nabothian cysts are related to chronic cervicitis, a long-term infection of the cervix. (Locked) More »

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis, nicknamed "trick," is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a microscopic one-celled organism called Trichomonas vaginalis. Trichomoniasis can cause vaginal infections in women and inflammation of the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder) in both sexes. In pregnant women, Trichomonas infections also can increase the risk of premature rupture of the membranes and preterm delivery. (Locked) More »

Intracranial Aneurysms

Arteries are tunnels that blood travels through to get from the heart to various parts of the body. An aneurysm is a bulge in an artery, similar to the bulge that appears at a weak spot of a hose, where the water pressure pushes out to create a bubble. Like the hose bubble, the area of an artery where an aneurysm appears is weak and has the potential to burst. Aneurysms most frequently occur in the arteries that bring blood to the brain. Brain aneurysms are also known as intracranial aneurysms or berry aneurysms (because most of the time they look like little round berries). They occur in up to 6% of people. In general, most brain aneurysms are small, rarely cause symptoms and have a very low risk of rupture. (Locked) More »

Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Lupus is thought to develop when your body's immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. . Immune proteins called autoantibodies attack many different parts of the body, causing inflammation and tissue damage in many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidney, nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves), blood, heart, lungs, digestive system and eyes. Autoantibodies also can attach themselves to body chemicals, forming abnormal molecules called immune complexes that trigger additional inflammation and injury when they are deposited in various organs and tissues. The exact cause of lupus remains a mystery, although scientists are investigating many different possibilities and believe several factors may play a role in the development of the disease. Since 90% of all lupus patients are women, usually of childbearing age, researchers think hormones may be involved. Lupus tends to run in families, so genetic factors may play a role. There is some evidence that the illness may be more common in people of African, Native American, West Indian and Chinese descent. Some researchers think lupus may be triggered by a virus or another type of infection in people who are genetically susceptible to the disease. (Locked) More »

Painful Sexual Intercourse (Dyspareunia)

Pain during or after sexual intercourse is known as dyspareunia. Although this problem can affect men, it is more common in women. Women with dyspareunia may have pain in the vagina, clitoris or labia. There are numerous causes of dyspareunia, many of which are treatable. Common causes include the following: Vaginal dryness Atrophic vaginitis, a common condition causing thinning of the vaginal lining in postmenopausal women Side effects of drugs such as antihistamines and tamoxifen (Nolvadex and other brands) An allergic reaction to clothing, spermicides or douches Endometriosis, an often painful condition in which tissue from the uterine lining migrates and grows abnormally inside the pelvis Inflammation of the area surrounding the vaginal opening, called vulvar vestibulitis Skin diseases, such as lichen planus and lichen sclerosus, affecting the vaginal area Urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, or sexually transmitted diseases Psychological trauma, often stemming from a past history of sexual abuse or trauma (Locked) More »

Vaginal Yeast Infection

Vaginal yeast infections, also called "Candida vaginal infections," typically are caused by the Candida albicans fungus. During a lifetime, 75% of all women are likely to have at least one vaginal Candida infection, and up to 45% have two or more. Women tend to be more likely to get vaginal yeast infections if their bodies are under stress from poor diet, lack of sleep, illness, or when they are pregnant or taking antibiotics. (Locked) More »

Colposcopy

Colposcopy is an examination of a woman's vagina and cervix using a colposcope, a portable instrument with a light source and magnifying lenses. This instrument lets your doctor examine the cervix and vagina for cancer and abnormal areas that may become cancer. Colposcopy takes about 15 to 30 minutes and doesn't require anesthesia. (Locked) More »