Women's Health

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideWomen's Health: Nutrition and Health Care Reform

Women's Health: Nutrition and Health Care Reform

Diseases more common in women

Many diseases affect both women and men alike, but some diseases occur at a higher frequency in women. For example, gallstones are three to four times more common in women than in men. About 18% of women in the U.S. suffer migraine headaches compared with only 6% of men, a ratio of three females to one male. Other conditions seen more often in women than in men include irritable bowel syndrome and urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections, including cystitis (bladder infection) and kidney infection (pyelonephritis) are significant health problems that especially affect women. Kidney disease is a leading cause of high blood pressure (hypertension). And, after age 50, hypertension is more common in women than in men.

Also more common in women than men are the autoimmune disorders (for example, multiple sclerosis, Sjögren's syndrome, and lupus). In these diseases, the immune system attacks the body's own tissue. Autoimmune disorders afflict at least 12 million Americans and 3/4 of them are women. One autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, affects approximately 1.3 million Americans, with 2/3 of the sufferers being women.

Osteoporosis, a condition in which bone density decreases, occurs in both men and women. Overall, however, it is more of a major health concern for women. Some studies have reported that as many as one of every two women over 50 will suffer a fracture related to osteoporosis in her lifetime. By age 65, some women have lost half of their skeletal mass. A woman's doctor can assess her bone density and make recommendations as to how to prevent further bone loss.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2015

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