6 of the Most Common Women's Health Issues (and How to Guard Against Them)

6 of the Most Common Women's Health Issues (and How to Guard Against Them)

Many health issues are genderless and can impact anyone equally. Others, however, are sex-specific or come with different risk factors based on sex. 

From reproductive health issues to chronic conditions, being aware of common women's health problems is crucial for women looking to maintain good health and wellness. With International Women’s Day coming up this Friday, we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about six of the most common women’s health issues to be aware of and how you can lower your risk.

Breast Cancer 

Breast cancer is the world’s most common cancer and is one of the most prevalent health concerns among women worldwide. It is also one of the most survivable cancers, with a 99% 5 year survival rate if caught in the earliest stages. 

Getting to know what is normal for your breasts and performing regular self-exams is essential for early detection. You may also be offered clinical breast exams and mammograms, depending on your age and other risk factors. Take these up if they are available to you. Women with a family history of breast cancer may benefit from genetic screening to assess their risk and develop a personalized prevention plan.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, limiting your alcohol consumption, and avoiding smoking can all help to reduce your risk of breast cancer. 

Men can also get breast cancer, though this is rare, accounting for fewer than 1% of all cases. 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age and typically appears during the late teens or early 20s. This condition is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels, and enlarged ovaries with fluid-filled sacs surrounding the eggs.

Women with PCOS may experience symptoms such as acne, excess hair growth, and unexplained weight gain. 

The cause of PCOS is unknown but it appears to be at least somewhat hereditary. There is no cure, but the condition can be managed by maintaining a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, and taking medication to regulate menstrual cycles and address specific symptoms. 

If you have PCOS and are trying to conceive, you may benefit from fertility treatments. 


Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue similar to the uterus lining grows outside the uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis include pelvic pain, painful periods, pain during sex, and fertility problems. 

The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, but genetics, hormonal imbalances, and immune system dysfunction are all believed to play a role. There is no cure, but treatment options include pain management, hormonal medicines or contraceptives, and surgical intervention to remove endometrial tissue. In some cases, a hysterectomy may be recommended. 

This condition impacts around 10% of women and girls of reproductive age globally. 

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) 

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections that affect the urinary system and are usually caused by fecal matter entering the urinary tract. Both sexes can get UTIs, but women are around 30 times more susceptible than men. Symptoms may include burning when urinating, needing to urinate more often than usual, blood in your urine, and a high temperature (though not all symptoms will present in all cases.) 

You can lower your risk of UTIs by drinking plenty of water, practicing good hygiene habits, urinating after sex, and avoiding irritating substances such as douches and feminine hygiene sprays. 

If you think you may have a UTI, see your doctor promptly for antibiotics as an untreated infection can cause more serious complications. 

Heart Disease 

Heart disease is often considered a men's health issue, but it is the leading cause of death among women globally. 

Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. To reduce your risk of heart disease, prioritize heart-healthy habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins), maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress levels, and avoiding smoking.

Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your risk factors are also essential for early detection and intervention. Accept any screenings that are made available to you, particularly if you are aged 50 or over. 


Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones, leading them to become more prone to fractures and breaks. Anyone can suffer from osteoporosis, and your risk increases as you age. However, it particularly affects postmenopausal women due to hormonal changes that lead to bone loss. Going through early menopause (prior to age 45) or having a hysterectomy also increases your risk. 

Ensuring you consume plenty of calcium and vitamin D intake, along with performing weight-bearing exercises regularly, can help to maintain bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis. 

In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements to ensure adequate intake, particularly for women at higher risk.