Understanding Women’s Health Issues

Women have a variety of potential health factors that that are unique to them. When looking to address any health issues, women should be aware that there are diseases where treatment may look different versus that of men with the same ailments. In honor of Women’s Health Week, which runs from May 8th-14th this year, we’d like to shine a light on the top health challenges women may face during their lifetimes and provide resources on how to address them.

Heart disease

While heart disease may sometimes be associated more with men than women, it is still the leading cause of death for women, according to a study by the National Institute of Health. In addition, women are more likely to die after a heart attack than men. Perhaps most concerning, a study showed that women’s awareness of the threat of heart disease was on the decline over the past decade. It’s important for women to be aware of exacerbating conditions like smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Breast cancer

In recent years, breast cancer awareness and the importance of screening, has become more prevalent thanks to the many education and awareness campaigns around this disease.  However, the importance of screenings remains the same, especially in the wake of COVID-19, which interfered with many women’s yearly checkup. Click here for advice on how to self-screen, visit BreastCancer.org for helpful information and resources, and if you’re uninsured, set up a free screening through New York State Breast Cancer Services here.

Alcohol abuse

While men are more likely to form an alcohol dependency, the health impact of alcoholism affect women more profoundly, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. These effects include an increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, and fetal alcohol syndrome. For help combating alcohol abuse, New Yorkers can connect with the Office of Addiction Services and Supports here.


The risk of arthritis is more common in women than men, according to the CDC, and this painful condition is expected to become more prevalent as the population ages. For information on risk factors and ways to mitigate arthritis’s painful effects, click here.

Urinary tract health

Urinary incontinence affects everyone, but is most prevalent among women over the age of 50. To learn ways to mitigate these issues, including changes to diet and exercise, click here.


More women than men suffer a stroke, due in part to pregnancy, birth control medication, and hormone replacement therapy, according to the American Stroke Association, which also has information on how to help. Smoking, exercise, and diet are some other risk factors that women can look to control and proactively address.

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections

STDS and STIS often go undiagnosed in women because symptoms are less clear, or are confused with a less serious condition, such as yeast infections (which are awful enough). Additionally, they can cause infertility if left untreated. For help with screening, diagnosis and treatment, check out these resources from the Office of Women’s Health.

Menstrual cycles and menopause

Issues related with the menstrual cycle, as well as the transition to menopause and its effects on memory and other functions, represent daily challenges for many women, according to Harvard Health. The organization Healthy Women has a number of resources to understand and try to treat some of these symptoms and difficulties.

Violence against women

One in three women under the age of 50 has been a victim of physical and/or sexual violence by a partner, according to the World Health Organization. It’s vital to stand up and speak out about the violence done to women and do more to provide a safer world. To connect with help for an incident related to domestic or sexual violence, check out this page from the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.