International Women’s Day – Women’s Health Issues

The International Woman’s Day theme for 2016 is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. Women have come a long way. Their role in the society is not limited to reproduction and an aid to men. Today she stands on equal footing as men. She does everything that only men did, up until a few decades ago. She serves in the military; she runs businesses, leads nations, runs space missions, makes families and fights the fair fights of the society. Among all this she hasn’t given up on the institution of marriage and family. She is still a mother first and a woman.
It’s not easy for a woman to make it in this male dominated world. Not all nations of the world consider their women citizens to be equal to their male citizens. In some war trodden countries, the situation of women is abominable. She is traded as a physical quantity and treated worse than animals. In the more developed and free thinking world, she has to face gender inequality, unequal pay issues, and biased medical issues.Many countries do not give importance to many health issues faced by women. No gender specific health care criterion is available to them. Mental health and reproductive health of women are some such issues which have long awaited significant development. Today we divert our attention towards a handful of such issues.Cancer – Cancer affects women more than any other form of diseases, with two of the most common ones being breast and cervical cancers. It is said that each year around half a million women die from cervical cancer and half a million from breast cancer. Most women still do not know about the mammograms and pap tests, when and how to take them. Breast and cervical cancer awareness is important in today’s time and day.Mental Health – Women are more likely to face depression and anxiety at some point of their life than men, due to biological differences. While depression is the most common mental health problem for women, suicide is a leading cause of death. Abuse and neglect are often factors in women’s mental health problems. Treatments need to be sensitive to and reflect gender differences.Heart Disease – Heart diseases are a leading cause of death. Important differences in the approaches to treatment and prevention of heart disease between women and men have lead to the increase in death numbers. We should be made more aware of the heart healthy choices they can make and the kind of lifestyle they should lead so as to lead a happy, healthy life.Reproductive and Maternal Health – Sexual and reproductive health problems are responsible for one third of health issues for females between the ages of 15 and 44 years. It said that unsafe sex is a major risk factor, particularly among females in developing countries. While progress has been made, almost 300, 000 women died from complications in pregnancy and childbirth, and most of these deaths could have been prevented if the women had access to family planning and basic services.
HIV/AIDS – HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for ladies aged between 15 to 44-years-old. It said that too many young girls still struggle to protect themselves against sexual transmission of HIV and to get the treatment they require. The stigma attached to STDs is also a major factor for these deaths. It stops them from seeking the required medical help and advice.These entire problem have one thing in common, they all seek a very different gender specific approach towards handling them. It’s about time gender specific studies and research to start, and we should enjoy equal rights as men.
Political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner. With all the efforts dedicated towards us for one day, it is essentially to have resources diverted towards our health.

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Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Function in Sexual Health and Pregnancy

FSH is regarded as one of the most vital sexual developmental and reproductive hormones among women. However, it also plays a vital role in the sexual health of men where it is responsible for the onset of their pubertal, sexual growth. Yes, FSH testing is mainly limited to women, particular those who are above the age of 45 years or those who are finding it difficult to get pregnant since this hormone significantly impacts the female reproductive health to the extent of literally defining their ability to conceive.Please note that some degree of changes in the level of follicle stimulating hormone is not a matter of concern. In fact, most people witness a similar pattern wherein the concentration tends to dip and rise repeatedly throughout their life cycle. This is mainly because FSH is directly related with the stimulation of sexual growth and advancement of reproductive health traits across both genders. During the pubertal years, the overall hormonal volume tends to rise sharply. This is an unavoidable phase where follicle-stimulating-hormone in coordination with testosterone in males and progesterone, luteinizing hormone and estrogen in females regulates the development of primary & secondary sexual processes such as spermatogenesis in young boys and initiation of menstruation in young girls.From puberty onwards, FSH levels tend to rise gradually and eventually reach a gradient wherein the overall concentration tends to remain somewhat constant. Problems are noted only when there is a significant dip or a sharp rise in the overall concentration. While slightly lower concentrations are not seen as a major fertility deterrent, at least among women, they can impact the quality of the sperm among grown men. On the contrary, every bit of rise beyond the maximum required benchmark is seen as a major roadblock towards conceiving in females. This is most evident in ladies who are approaching menopause or menopausal women who usually have higher-than-usual concentrations and find it rather difficult to conceive without assistive reproductive treatments or some sort of fertility aid.In fact LH-FSH testing that is ordered as a part of start fertility treatments and pre-pregnancy phase is conducted with the sole purpose of ensuring that the levels are not beyond the usual range. The opposite of this scenario, i.e. fertility problems due to low follicle stimulating hormone concentrations, are quite rare but have been noted. Here, lower concentrations make the ovulation process difficult. Such women might show phases of absolute absence of ovulation, i.e. no fertilizable healthy eggs are present, called anovulation.Problems in the ovulation process also suggest poor menstrual health and irregular periods further retard the chances of conceiving in a normal manner. The bigger health risk with higher-than-usual levels is the increased susceptibility to develop ovarian cancers. Please note that phases of high FSH secretion are controlled by the pituitary gland that tries to revive the menopausal ovaries suffering from a dip in other, reproductive hormone(s) like progesterone and estrogen. The increased secretion means that ovaries are overwhelmed in the absence of counter-balancing hormones like LH, progesterone and estrogen, raising the likelihood of ovarian cysts or tumors developing.This is why most fertility specialists opine that the overall concentration of follicle stimulating hormone and its ratio with LH defines the quality of eggs, i.e. their ability to sustain fertilization and hence, pregnancy.