Women's Health Archive


Menopause and long COVID: What's the connection?

Two-thirds of Americans with long COVID are women. Women approaching menopause who have long COVID seem to experience worsened symptoms of both conditions. Women's sex hormones appear to contribute to this phenomenon. Hormone therapy is becoming both a treatment and a diagnostic tool to determine driving factors behind affected women's symptoms. Because symptoms overlap, some women may have trouble being correctly diagnosed with perimenopause or long COVID.

A.I.'s promise for women's health

Artificial intelligence, or A.I., has been used in women's health care for decades. A.I. helps detect and track breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, cervical precancers, and other conditions. A.I.-driven mammography software may reveal more breast cancers than radiologists detect alone. A.I. may soon streamline women's breast cancer risk assessment scores to aid screening. Experts once predicted that A.I. would replace radiologists, but that hasn't happened and isn't likely, according to Harvard specialists.

The lowdown on vaginal TLC

Substances women eat, drink, or use can support or detract from vaginal health. The vagina's microbiome includes trillions of healthy bacteria that inhibit harmful bacteria. Certain conditions, such as an infection called bacterial vaginosis, indicate a harmful shift in the vaginal microbiome. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains benefit the vagina by tamping down inflammation. Other vagina-friendly foods include yogurt and soy. Staying well hydrated helps ward off dryness. Smoking or douching, however, can harm vaginal health.

Polycystic ovary syndrome linked with cognitive decline at midlife

A 2024 study suggests that women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition stemming from a hormonal imbalance, may face higher risks of cognitive decline at midlife.

Migraines plus early menopause symptoms may add up to cardiovascular risks

A 2024 study suggests that younger women with migraines and early menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats may have higher cardiovascular risks at midlife.

Is there a good side to drug side effects?

Not all drug side effects are created equal: some are tolerable, some are dangerous –– and some may turn out to be surprisingly beneficial with weight loss and hair growth as superstar examples. Silver linings like these can lead to a new purpose for some medications.

Have you exfoliated lately?

Exfoliation — the process of removing dead cells from the skin's outer layer — can make skin glow, help even out coloring, and offer other benefits, but it can also irritate or inflame. Which products should you choose and how often can you exfoliate?

HPV infection linked to higher cardiovascular risk

Women with high-risk strains of human papillomavirus—a well-known cause of cervical cancer—may face four times the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a 2024 study.

The latest thinking on drinking

Studies on alcohol's health effects have shown conflicting results, Harvard experts say, leaving people confused. No randomized, controlled trials have been performed, and observational studies can't easily tease apart drinking and other lifestyle habits that influence health, such as exercise, sleep, and social connectedness. However, drinking alcohol has been convincingly linked to developing breast cancer, so women concerned about their breast cancer risk should consider reducing or eliminating alcohol. For most other healthy people who enjoy an occasional drink, they can continue to do so.

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