20 Most Common Female Health Problems
We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Both men and women alike have an equal chance of experiencing health-related mishaps during their lifetime. But some specific health problems are much more prevalent in women, and the most common female health problems deserve recognition — especially when considering their rates of occurrence.
What Are Some of the Most Common Female Health Problems?
You don’t want to feel bogged down by preventable illnesses and risk factors that impact your general sense of health. If you ask most women about their highest list of priorities in their daily life, wellness is likely amongst one of their top responses. But to know about your risk factors and the possibility of contracting these unwanted illnesses, you have to learn more about the most common female health issues first.
To help boost your understanding — and ability to prevent — unwanted illnesses and diseases, take a look at 18 of the most common female health problems.
- Heart Disease
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Breast Cancer
- Autoimmune Disease
- Pre- and Post-Menstrual Syndrome
- High Blood Pressure
- Low Blood Pressure
- Thyroid Issues
- Uterine Fibroids
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Eating Disorders
1. Heart Disease
If you’re a woman, you may just want to learn a little more about heart disease. You may think that cancer and reproductive-related complications should be at the top of your health-related list of priorities, but your heart should be of primary concern, too — especially when considering that fact that heart disease is a leading cause of death in women.
What’s the best way to ward off one of the most common female health problems experienced by patients across the globe? The answer may be as simple as lacing up your running shoes and getting in a heart-pumping cardio session each day. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, remember to incorporate heart-healthy foods into your everyday routine, too.
Since some of the most common female health problems are aggravated by a poor diet, eating healthy is beneficial to your overall sense of wellbeing. If you’re 65 years or older, consider taking a daily aspirin to reduce your risk of heart attack, too.
2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
While this condition may sound like a mouthful, it’s a lot simpler — and common — than you’d think. PCOS, as the name suggests, is most commonly defined by a buildup of cysts on the ovaries. This issue often manifests because a woman produces a higher-than-normal amount of male hormones.
Some of the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) include hair loss, mood disorders, skin discoloration, and weight gain. Women experiencing this condition may find it more challenging to get pregnant, too.
While there isn’t a cure for PCOS, you can change up your daily routine to alleviate your symptoms and experience relief.
What’s the secret? For many women, exercise does the trick. Since PCOS makes a woman more prone to weight gain, leading an active lifestyle can help shed those added pounds and boost feel-good hormones, too.
3. Breast Cancer
An astonishing 1 in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during her lifetime — meaning this issue is of considerable importance for women of any age.
Today, healthcare professionals and medical patients alike are equipped with the knowledge necessary to catch this disease early on to increase an individual’s likelihood of beating cancer with success.
Since this cancer forms in the breast area, perform regular examinations that alert you to any lumps or abnormalities in this region. Schedule regular visits with your gynecologist or general care physician to discuss any worries you have to reduce your likelihood of contracting this unwanted disease.
Does endometriosis sound like some foreign medical term that doesn’t apply to you? If you’re a woman, you may want to listen up the next time you hear this word — because this condition is one of the most common female health problems to impact a woman’s uterus.
Usually, tissue lines the uterus and supports a woman when she becomes pregnant. For women with endometriosis, however, the tissue grows in an abnormal place — such as the ovaries, the bladder, or behind the uterus.
When this tissue grows in other areas of the body, it can trigger severe pain in the abdomen, back or lower pelvic region. Another telltale sign of this issue is infertility or complications getting pregnant. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms noted above, consider scheduling a visit with your GYN for more details.
You walk into a room full of people and feel your heart race. You shove your sweaty palms in your pocket and feel a sense of nausea as your mind begins to race. Sound familiar? If so, you may have one of the most common female health problems — anxiety.
Anxiety doesn’t come in one shape or size. Common anxiety issues experienced by women include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Since anxiety can take a severe toll on your mental — and physical — health, look for ways to proactively reduce your everyday sense of stress or anxiety. Many women find that a treatment plan consisting of talk therapy and medication can help them effectively manage their symptoms.
Did you know that depression is much more prevalent in women then it is in men? Since women deal with fluctuating hormone levels more often than men, they’re at a higher risk for contracting that unshakable feeling of the blues.
Because depression can interfere with a woman’s ability to perform her day-to-day activities, such as going to work or engaging in self-care, with ease, seeking help is often necessary.
If you feel a sudden loss of interest in activities, a lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, or general sadness, consider scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional to learn more about how you can reduce your symptoms.
7. Autoimmune Disease
When it works correctly, the immune system plays a significant role in helping an individual ward off illnesses and maintain their general sense of wellbeing. But when the immune system is compromised, antibodies in the body experience trouble warding off infections. Sometimes, the immune system is responsible for attacking a patient’s own body, too.
And chances are, there’s a woman in your life fighting through an autoimmune disease — especially when considering the fact that there are over 80 different diagnosable autoimmune diseases.
Common issues associated with these diseases include lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and more. Depending on which condition you have, it may be beneficial to see a specialist knowledgeable about your autoimmune issue.
Women are more likely to experience osteoarthritis than men — making it a common female health issue worth examining. But what is osteoarthritis and how do you treat this condition?
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis that impact’s a patient’s bones. For women with this condition, the cartilage on the end of their bones that’s responsible for protection gradually wears down.
The result of this wear can’t be reversed and provokes tenderness, pain, and stiffness in the impacted area. To prevent your likelihood of developing this condition, ensure that you eat a nutritional diet throughout your life while participating in regular physical activity, too.
9. Pre- and Post-Menstrual Syndrome
You’ve heard of bodily changes occurring before and during your period, but did you know that for many women, symptoms tend to hang around long after Aunt Flo has left the building, too?
Post-menstrual syndrome is a condition that evokes symptoms similar to that of pre-menstrual syndrome — albeit later in your menstrual cycle. Some common side effects of this issue include mood swings, nausea, and general pains and discomforts.
These issues arise from hormonal imbalances, so medications such as birth control are often used to help alleviate any unwanted symptoms. Engage in regular self-care routines that include healthy eating, exercise, and stress-relief activities when experiencing pre- or post-menstrual syndrome, too.
10. High Blood Pressure
Severe headaches? Check. Fatigue? Check. An inexplicable pounding in your chest and chest pain? Check, and check.
High blood pressure, also commonly referred to as hypertension, often induces these symptoms in female patients. As one of the most common female health problems experienced by women, you may be no stranger to these unwanted feelings.
If you plan on getting pregnant soon, be sure to monitor your high blood pressure with a careful eye. Since there are many risk factors for a patient with high blood pressure during pregnancy, you’ll want to maintain regular visits with your doctor to ensure that you don’t stimulate any unwanted symptoms.
11. Low Blood Pressure
If you don’t have high blood pressure, you may be experiencing quite the opposite. Most notably marked by symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting, low blood pressure can severely impact a woman’s daily sense of well-being and happiness when left unchecked.
Since low blood pressure can stem from many different issues, it’s important to check with a doctor to ensure the root cause of your problem. Because most women can live with this condition with little to no interference in their everyday lives, simple acts such as remaining hydrated and scheduling routine examines can help effectively keep unwanted symptoms at bay.
12. Thyroid Issues
When your doctor schedules your routine blood tests during your annual visit, they’re likely to make a point to check your thyroid to ensure that everything is in working order. And since thyroid complications are amongst the most common female health problems physicians treat, it’s no wonder why paying particular attention to this crucial gland is amongst a physician’s top priorities when conducting a check-up.
While there’s a myriad of different thyroid disorders, some of the most common symptoms that signal an issue include lethargy, cold sensitivity, and a lump on the neck. If you’ve been pregnant in the past, you also have a 7 percent chance of developing postpartum thyroiditis — a condition that stems from high amounts of anti-thyroid antibodies before and after giving birth.
Periods may be an unwelcome part of your life, stimulating a week of discomfort 12 times a year. But while you may dread a monthly visit from Aunt Flo, other women would welcome a period that arrives on time. Why? Because for some, amenorrhea means that they may not even get a period at all.
Some of the most common female health problems fixate on a reproductive system — and amenorrhea is no exception. A woman who is not pregnant and who goes more than 3 consecutive months without a period may receive a diagnosis for this condition.
Some of the causes of this issue include hormonal imbalances, low body weight, excessive exercise, and, you guessed it — stress. But since amenorrhea can make it difficult to get pregnant, stress is also often a byproduct of this condition, too.
Women who attempt to reduce their stress and eat a healthy diet mixed with a reasonable amount of cardio may find it easier to regulate their menstrual cycle. For other women, hormone therapy and medication can help control unwanted symptoms.
14. Uterine Fibroids
For women of childbearing age, the development of uterine fibroids — or noncancerous tumors on the uterus — is quite common. Although these tumors are almost always benign, they can cause a handful of troublesome symptoms.
It’s not uncommon for a woman with uterine fibroids to experience heavy bleeding during their period or an increased amount of pain. Since fibroids develop on and around the uterine wall, they also cause bladder pressure in some patients.
Not sure if you have fibroids? Since this condition is most common in women in their 40s and 50s, you may want to receive a pelvic exam to confirm whether or not you have fibroids when experiencing problematic symptoms.
Common symptoms of uterine fibroids include pain during intercourse, an enlarged abdomen, frequent urination, and heavy or painful periods.
Strokes are the third leading cause of death for women — making it one of the top most common female health problems to be on the lookout for to ensure a healthy life.
Since women are at a higher risk of stroke than men, they may find it in their benefit to learn more about the early warning signs of this medical emergency.
If you ever experience a sudden feeling of weakness on half of your body, vision problems, dizziness, and a severe headache that manifests without a cause, visit the hospital immediately. Since strokes can be life-altering, it’s best to receive the immediate care that you need whenever necessary.
16. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
An astonishing 7 million women in the country have a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), making it one of the most common lung-related issues in women.
And this issue isn’t just prevalent in former smokers, either. While this issue can be provoked by smoking, it also manifests as a disease for women who have no prior experience with cigarettes or tobacco, too.
When experiencing lung discomfort and pain, many women are wrongfully diagnosed with asthma since the symptoms are similar. There are multiple stages of COPD, so your symptoms may vary depending on the severity of your condition.
To avoid potential long-term damage to your lungs, consult with your physician about COPD whenever you experience shortness of breath, a constant, dry cough, or other lung discomforts.
We’re betting you’ve heard of Human Papilloma Virus, also known as HPV, before. In an attempt to increase the publics’ understanding of this virus, health care professionals make a point to teach women about the necessary preventative measures for contracting HPV — one of most common female health problems to gain greater recognition in the women’s health field of study.
When you visit the gynecologist for your annual visit, your doctor is likely to suggest that you receive a pap smear — a test which detects the HPV virus and any other abnormalities in your cervix’s skin cells.
As one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, this disease is often spread through sexual contact. Fortunately, there are vaccines available on the market to prevent your likelihood of developing this condition.
You’re likely no stranger to diabetes. Since diabetes is one of the most common female health problems to impact women across the globe, you’re likely to know somebody in your immediate family or friend group who has this disease.
And if you’re a woman who has diabetes, you’re not alone. This disease — marked by an imbalance of glucose levels — afflicts nearly 1 in every 9 women in the United States.
Three primary types of diabetes impact women, including type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Since diabetes increases your risk of experiencing greater health complications, it’s vital to treat this issue with the appropriate medication plan.
Not sure if you’re diabetic? Common signs such as extreme lethargy, thirst, and increased urination may indicate the development of diabetes in a patient.
19. Eating Disorders
Although men can certainly develop eating disorders too, eating disorders are more common in women due to body dissatisfaction and genetics. A York University study used virtual reality technology to assess the participants’ perception of their bodies by giving them a different sized body in a simulation to observe their response. Based on brain activity, the researchers found that women’s brains responded to the simulation in a different way than men.
The study implies that women have neurobiological differences that make them more vulnerable to view their bodies in a negative light, despite their actual state. Poor body image can potentially lead to eating disorders, so women must be vigilant about their mindset. Eating disorders have been linked to low self-esteem, comparison with others and a disconnect between real body shape and perception.
Little research exists that can explain why fibromyalgia affects women differently than men, but the gendered link present with this disease can’t be ignored. What researchers do know about fibromyalgia shows that it attacks multiple systems in the body, from the reproductive system to the digestive system to the neurological system.
Once often dismissed by medical professionals lacking understanding of the disorder, celebrities such as Lady Gaga have raised awareness about how this condition diminishes the quality of life for those suffering, particularly women, who are more at risk of developing it. In fact, 90 percent of all fibromyalgia sufferers are women.
Avoiding the Most Common Female Health Problems
The first step in ensuring an optimal sense of wellbeing as a woman is knowing more about the issues that are prevalent in your sex.
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll live your life without contracting any of the illnesses noted above, a greater knowledge of these issues coupled with an effort to engage in prevalent measurements significantly increases your likelihood of leading a healthy and happy life.