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5 Common Women’s Health Problems and How They’re Diagnosed

Women experience unique health problems that can affect their hormones, fertility, comfort, and overall well-being. Some conditions like osteoporosis can affect both men and women, yet women tend to be at higher risk. Here are five common women’s health conditions and how they can be diagnosed by your primary care doctor or a medical specialist.

 Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects more than 11 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44\. This condition occurs when the inside lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus to cause chronic back pain, irregular menstrual bleeding, and painful bowel movements and menstrual cramps. When left untreated, endometriosis can lead to chronic inflammation and infertility.

Endometriosis can be diagnosed by a primary care physician or women’s health specialist using a pelvic exam, ultrasound, MRI, and laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery where your doctor examines the inside of the pelvis to look for tissue growth outside the uterus.

 Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus, which are almost always benign. But while most uterine fibroids are non-cancerous, these tumors can grow as large as a grapefruit, causing pain and discomfort. When left untreated, uterine fibroids can cause heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, lower back pain, and infertility.

In many instances, uterine fibroids do not produce symptoms. Your doctor may be able to feel fibroids on your uterus during a routine pelvic exam. If you suspect you have uterine fibroids, you can have an ultrasound, MRI, X-rays, or CAT scan. A women’s health specialist may also perform laparoscopy or hysteroscopy to look for fibroids.

 Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Also known as PCOS, this serious women’s health problem affects one in ten women of childbearing age. PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalances that trigger problems in the ovaries, and can lead to irregular menstrual bleeding, infertility, and the development of cysts. When left untreated, PCOS can also lead to weight gain, acne on the face and body, male-pattern hair loss, and excess hair growth on the face, chin, and upper lip.

PCOS can be difficult to diagnose because there are no tests that can specifically identify this women’s health problem. However, your doctor may perform a series of tests to rule out other women’s health conditions, like endometriosis. These may include a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and blood tests.

 Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak, brittle, and highly prone to fractures. Osteoporosis affects one in three women over the age of 50, but only affects one in five men. This condition tends to affect women more often than men due to the way women experience significant declines in estrogen as they start going through menopause. Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining good bone health.

Osteoporosis can be diagnosed by a doctor or women’s health specialist using a bone density test. This test can be performed using a special type of X-ray and other tools that analyze bone density and risk for suffering fractures. Staying active and getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D can help reduce your risk for osteoporosis.

 Cervical Cancer

More than 257,000 women in the U.S. are living with cervical cancer. This type of cancer originates in the lower part of the uterus, called the cervix, and is most often caused by HPV. Though cervical cancer can be deadly, this type of cancer can easily be prevented and detected in its early stages using the HPV vaccine and routine screening.

Cervical cancer doesn’t usually produce symptoms, but advanced cervical cancer may cause unusual bleeding or discharge from the vagina. Cervical cancer can be diagnosed using a Pap test, during which your doctor or a women’s health specialist takes a sample of your cervical cells to look for signs of cancer. Getting tested for HPV can also help you determine if you have HPV or are at risk for this serious women’s health condition.

CareCube offers primary care and women’s health services that can help reduce your risk for health problems commonly experienced by women. Contact us today to request an appointment and begin the treatment process.

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