Here are 5 major diseases that affect only women

We look at some gender-specific health concerns ahead of the international women's day on March 8, 2019.

Sick pregnant woman(American Heart Association)

Both men and women deal with health concerns but there are some issues that affect mostly the female gender. 

According to the International Journal of Microbiology, Volume 2019, more Nigerian women have urinary tract infections than men, the ratio being 14.6 to 7.4 percent. The study was conducted on12,458 urine samples. suffer higher heart attack deaths compared to men. 

Then, there are conditions that affect only women. These include pregnancy, menopause, gynaecological conditions like pelvic pain and uterine fibroids.

Ahead of the international women's day on March 8, 2019, Business Insider takes a look at five major scary threats to women's health. Here they are:

Ovarian and Cervical Cancer

Women are prone to two kinds of cancer -ovarian and cervical. While both conditions cause similar pain, they are quite different. Ovarian cancer is a complex condition that starts in the fallopian tubes and presents vague symptoms.

Cervical cancer, on the other hand, originates in the lower uterus, causes discharge and pain during intercourse. It can easily be detected with a pap smear.

Since women make almost 67 percent of Africa's total population, cancer remains one of the most dangerous threats to females.

Gynecological Health

There are several gynaecological health and disorders that women have to deal with. They include menstruation, menstrual irregularities; pelvic pain, bacterial vaginosis, uterine fibroids, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Women are more prone to UTIs than men due to their anatomy. The woman's urethra is quite close to the vagina and rectum where loads of bacteria live. 

Pregnancy Issues

Pregnancy is a health condition that affects women only. It can result in certain issues like anaemia (when a woman's red blood cell count drop as a result of her pregnancy).  

Others include pregnancy loss, preterm labour and premature birth, and birth defects. Pregnancy can also worsen pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

Nigeria, in particular, has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates. According to an African Population and Health Research Center fact sheet, there are 40,000 maternal deaths every year. This is due to lack of primary health centres for pregnant women in particularly in rural areas.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

STDs are infections that are gotten from having sex with someone who has the infection. Most STDs affect both men and women, but it can cause more harm to women. 

For instance, an STD in a pregnant woman can cause serious health problems for the baby. It can also lead to fertility problems and an increased risk of cervical cancer if left untreated.

Depression and Anxiety

Men are affected by depression and anxiety but it is different for women. A recent National Center for Health Statistics survey found that women are two times as likely to suffer from depression as men (10.4 vs. 5.5 per cent).

This is due to the natural hormonal fluctuations like premenstrual syndrome (PMS)that occur in a woman's body. After birth, many mothers are prone to perinatal depression, also called "baby blues."

"Women have more biological origins for depression than men with more changeable neurochemistry," says psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, award-winning author of 'Depression in Later Life.'

"Monthly hormone changes, shifts, and dips after giving birth, and before and during menopause heighten the onset of depression," she adds.


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