We all know it’s so important to look after your health. If you're relatively young, it’s easy to get complacent and think you don’t need to start worrying about regular check ups and testing until you’re older. But the truth is, you can get sick at any time. That’s why it’s important that you start taking care of your health right now, not in ten years when you’re at risk of more health problems.
There are a lot of basic things that everybody needs to do like exercising regularly and eating well, but there are also some specific health issues that affect women. It’s important that we’re aware of these potential risks and take steps to improve our health.
Here are some of the specific health issues that younger women need to look out for...
Mental health problems affect everybody, no matter their gender or age, but young women tend to be more at risk than other groups. In the last few years, we’ve become more aware of mental health problems and a lot of the stigma around them has lifted, so more people are seeking help. Figures suggest that cases of diagnosed depression in women have risen significantly in the last 5 years.
Managing mental health is all about prevention. Exercising regularly and eating a good diet are both important, but the best thing that you can do to avoid mental health issues is manage your stress effectively. Being a young person is stressful and a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet, but you need to learn how to handle that stress in a healthy way, otherwise, it can easily develop into a more serious mental health problem.
Make sure you’re taking time for yourself. Things like meditation can really help if you’re feeling stressed as well, so think about adding a daily session to your routine.
If you feel as though you’re getting overwhelmed and think your mental health is suffering, seek help right away. So many people put it off because they think that it’s not that bad or other people have it worse and they feel like they’re wasting the doctors time. That’s not the case and if you seek help early on, it'll be far easier to manage the issue.
Breast cancer is the 2nd most common form of cancer in women and every 2 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with the disease. While it impacts older women more than younger women, you’re at risk whatever your age. If breast cancer is diagnosed early, the chances of survival are much higher, that’s why it’s so important that you are vigilant. You should be checking your breasts once a month at least to make sure that there aren’t any changes. If you notice any unusual lumps, you need to get down to the doctor right away.
The majority of lumps that you find in your breast are not cancerous so you don’t need to panic if you do find something. However, it is vital that you get it checked out right away. If you catch it early, you have a very good chance of treating it effectively.
Having a baby is a very big decision and not one that many want to leave up to chance. That’s why it’s important that you’re using contraception properly. There are so many different types of contraception for both men and women. If you’re taking the pill or using implants or injections, they can affect your body in a lot of different ways and some forms of contraception have a lot of different side effects.
Different contraception methods affect people in different ways, so it’s important that you find one that works for you. The negative side effects can change over time so something that worked for you a few years ago might not be the best choice for you now. Unfortunately, a lot of women don’t review their contraception regularly enough. Instead, they stick with the contraception that they’ve always used, and sometimes that means they’re experiencing negative side effects.
Check in with your doctor every now and again and make sure that your contraception is still working for you.
Dysmenorrhea is the technical term for an extremely painful period. It's known that a lot of young women suffer from this. A patient is considered to have dysmenorrhea if the pain is severe enough that they need to take medication and are unable to do certain activities because of it. The problem is, a lot of people assume that it’s just period pain and it’s a normal part of having a period so they just have to deal with it.
While it is common to have some discomfort, if the pain is excessive, you should visit the doctor and see if there's anything that they can do about it.
In some cases, there is an underlying cause for the pain so you need to see a doctor to establish whether there is a bigger problem such as endometriosis. However, in a lot of women, the cause is unknown but a doctor can still find ways to help you manage the pain. Hormonal contraceptives work well for a lot of people, which is another reason you need to review your contraception regularly. If that doesn’t work, the doctor can prescribe painkillers that will help you to manage the pain so you can go about your normal life without having to deal with the severe pain.
Type 2 Diabetes
A combination of bad diet and genetics can cause people to develop type 2 diabetes. Anybody is at risk of developing the condition if their diet is bad, however, research found that there are a lot of young women who appear to be perfectly healthy are developing type 2 diabetes. This is a big problem because it can be symptomless for a long time so people will be completely unaware that they have it, especially if they think that they’re living a healthy lifestyle.
When the symptoms do start to appear, they can be different in women to what they are in men. If you're experiencing a lot of yeast infections or urinary tract infections, that may be a sign that you have type 2 diabetes. These are issues that most women will have at some point and it’s nothing to worry about if it isn’t that regular. However, if the problems persist, you should ask your doctor whether there is a risk of type 2 diabetes.
It’s also a good idea to speak to your family about their medical history so you know whether there is any relatives that have type 2 diabetes. If there is a history of type 2 diabetes in your family, it’s important that you pay careful attention to your lifestyle. Reducing your sugar intake is essential if you want to decrease your risk. The reason that a lot of people that appear healthy are at risk is that a lot of so called health foods that are advertised as low fat actually have a lot of added sugar. Things like fruit juice which are perceived to be healthy are actually packed full of sugar. Always read the labels on things before you buy so you know exactly how much sugar you’re consuming.