Women have unique health issues. Some of them are pregnancy, menopause, and cancers like Breast and Cervical Cancer. But another reason is that general health problems affect women differently. Women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men. More women than men suffer a stroke each year. Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men. According to a 2012 survey by the American Psychological Association, stress is on the rise for women. Women are more likely than men are to experience urinary tract problems. These are just a few of the differences. What you need to do is make sure that you are taking a proactive, comprehensive approach to your health.

When periods (menstruations) come regularly, this is called the menstrual cycle. Having regular menstrual cycles is a sign that important parts of your body are working normally. The menstrual cycle provides important body chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy. It also prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A cycle is counted from the first day of 1 period to the first day of the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. Cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens. The rise and fall of levels of hormones during the month control the menstrual cycle.

Here are the main issues regarding women's health that keep us awake

  • Malnutrition – Impact 2 Billion people worldwide, it hits women particularly hard
  • Mental Health - It's easy to forget about mental health afflictions like depression when looking at the state of women's health, because they're "invisible"
  • HIV / AIDS - Half of the 35 Million people living with this disease across the world are women.
  • Cardiovascular Disease – Thought many of us think of cardiovascular disease – also known as heart disease as a men’s issue, it is actually the number one cause of death for women.
  • Abortion & Contraception – A heartbreaking 70,000 women die each year from improperly performed abortions.
  • Breast Cancer – The most lethal cancer for women ages 20-59 throughout the world, breast cancer is increasing among women in developing countries
  • Pregnancy & Childbirth – Over 529,000 women die annually from pregnancy complications, primarily in the developing world.
  • Domestic Violence – At least 35% of women around the world have been victims of domestic violence.
  • Sexual Violence – A term that covers rape and sexual assault, coerced marriage, and other forms of sexual abuse is one of the most pressing human right issues around the world.

Puberty is the time in life when a boy or girl becomes sexually mature. It is a process that usually happens between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys. It causes physical changes and affects boys and girls differently. In girls: The first sign of puberty is usually breast development.Then hair grows in the pubic area and armpits. Menstruation (or a period) usually happens last. In boys: Puberty usually begins with the testicles and penis getting bigger. Then hair grows in the pubic area and armpits. Muscles grow, the voice deepens, and facial hair develops as puberty continues. Both boys and girls may get acne. They also usually have a growth spurt (a rapid increase in height) that lasts for about 2 or 3 years. This brings them closer to their adult height, which they reach after puberty. NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Menopause is a normal condition that all women experience as they age. The term "menopause" can describe any of the changes a woman goes through either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period.

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer and can spread to other areas of the body. Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix -- the lower part of the uterus (womb). This is sometimes called the uterine cervix. The fetus grows in the body of the uterus (the upper part). The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The cervix has two different parts and is covered with two different types of cells. The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix and is covered with glandular cells. The part next to the vagina is the exocervix (or ectocervix) and is covered in squamous cells. These two cell types meet at a place called the transformation zone. The exact location of the transformation zone changes as you get older and if you give birth. Most cervical cancers begin in the cells in the transformation zone. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop pre-cancerous changes that turn into cancer. Doctors use several terms to describe these pre-cancerous changes, including cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), and dysplasia. These changes can be detected by the Pap test and treated to prevent cancer from developing. Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes (pre-cancers), only some of the women with pre-cancers of the cervix will develop cancer. It usually takes several years for cervical pre-cancer to change to cervical cancer, but it also can happen in less than a year. For most women, pre-cancerous cells will go away without any treatment. Still, in some women pre-cancers turn into true (invasive) cancers. Treating all cervical pre-cancers can prevent almost all cervical cancers.

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