Three health issues women shouldn't (and don't have to) put up with
by Brandpoint (ARA) Sponsored Content
Jan 14, 2014 | 14487 views | 0 0 comments | 65 65 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(BPT) - Women often endure health issues in silence, especially if the problem is embarrassing, affects only them and doesn't pose a serious health risk. Yet issues that appear minor and personal can have a major impact on a woman's quality of life - and ultimately on the lives of those around her.

'It's natural for women to want to avoid talking about certain deeply personal health problems, such as heavy periods, digestive problems or incontinence,' says Dr. Jessica Shepherd, assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, University of Illinois College of Medicine . 'But talking about a problem can lead to effective treatment. Many health issues that seem to be merely inconvenient can actually have a pervasive impact on a woman's personal and professional life.'

Here are three common health issues that women tend to discount as 'minor,' and avoid talking about. Yet each of these issues can deeply affect not only a woman's physical health, but her mental, personal and professional well-being as well.

* Incontinence - Defined as the involuntary release of urine from the bladder, incontinence affects 25 million Americans, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Seventy-five to 80 percent of them are women, the National Association for Continence estimates. Women may remain silent about their problem thinking incontinence is a normal part of aging (it's not) or that it only affects sufferers on a personal level. Yet a study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that incontinence affects a person's quality of life, disrupting social, sexual, interpersonal and even professional functioning.

From bladder training to medications, treatments can help. The first step is to talk to your doctor about the problem.

* Heavy periods - About 10 million women experience heavy periods that require hourly changes of pads or tampons even at night, bleeding that lasts a week or longer, and that restrict their daily activities. While menstrual problems may seem deeply personal to a woman - and not something she wants to think affects others - heavy periods can profoundly affect a woman personally and professionally. Women with heavier periods miss work 28 percent more than other women, a study of the National Health Interview Survey reveals. And 83.5 percent of women in a United Kingdom study said if their heavy periods persisted over the next five years, they would be unhappy - making the issue a mental health concern, too.

Consulting with their doctors can help women decide on a treatment for their heavy periods. Oral contraceptives and hysterectomies have been traditional options for severe cases. An alternative, NovaSure, is a non-surgical, non-hormonal treatment that can be done in a doctor's office with a single five-minute procedure. For more than 90 percent of women, NovaSure can dramatically reduce or even eliminate menstrual bleeding. Visit ChangeTheCycle.com and Facebook.com/Changethecycle to learn more about the procedure.

* Digestive health - From chronic constipation to irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux to severe gas, digestive disorders affect millions of American women, according to the National Institutes of Health. While occasional irritation is normal and happens to virtually everyone, problems that continue for long periods can indicate more serious health issues. And even when there's no serious underlying problem, the symptoms of digestive issues can hinder a woman's lifestyle. A digestive issue that causes a woman to spend extended periods in the rest room, for example, may interfere with her work performance. Severe chronic gas may make a woman avoid social situations, especially ones in which she'll be meeting new people.

It's important to find out if your digestive problems are relatively innocuous or indicate a more serious issue, so talk to your doctor.

'No matter how embarrassing a health issue is, or how personal you think it is, if it's impacting your quality of life it's definitely worth discussing with your doctor,' Shepherd says. 'Women should also seek information and support from organizations, groups and websites that address their specific issue. Suffering in silence is no way to treat a health problem.'

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.