The human body is weird and confusing, which unfortunately means that there are thousands of health issues out there we probably aren’t aware of. The biggest and most common or scariest health issues take up most of the space when it comes to talking about what can go wrong inside our bodies (which is absolutely understandable), and while that can be a good thing, it can also make us forget that there are other things out there that could be going on – especially for women. Doctors are busy people worrying about a lot of things, and they aren’t perfect. They don’t always tell us about the health issues affecting women, they don’t always diagnose everything properly, and honestly, they don’t know everything. At some point, it’s up to us to learn about these things.
This is something really important to me, honestly, because I’ve had several experiences with health issues that doctors didn’t warn me about, didn’t help me with, and never fully explained to me. I had to stop taking my birth control pill because it was making me feel crazy, but I was never warned that could happen. In college, I spent over a year in excruciating pain almost every day because I was suffering from gall stones and a gall bladder that needed to be removed, but it took months to be diagnosed because no one ever said it could happen. The past few years, I’ve been in a constant state of chronic pain from GI issues that are extremely common in young women – even though no one ever talks about it.
It’s terrifying to think of all of the possible health issues out there, and I don’t want to scare anyone or be an alarmist. But I do think everyone should know about all of the health issues women could deal with that aren’t discussed. It’s scary to feel pain or discomfort, go to a doctor, and be told when nothing is wrong when you know something is wrong – you have to keep yourself educated. Here are 15 health issues no one ever talks about that you all need to know about, taken from this very helpful Ask Reddit thread.
You Can Have Pimples On Your VaginaRedhaired103: Bartholin's cysts and vulva pimples. Education about women's health is really so much avoided, make it school or media. I frequently come across to women, not even teenagers but adult women, who don't know their underwear should be 100% cotton. Last year I had a vulva pimple which is not even a rare thing, at least three of my girl friends had no idea you can have vulva pimple. I had suspected of bartholin's cyst at the time, none of them had heard about bartholin's cyst either. It is so unknown my gyno was surprised when she heard I knew there was such a thing like bartholin's cyst. Source: iStock
Bloating Could Be A Sign Of CancerTheCliterati: Constant bloating and other GI issues being a sign of ovarian cancer. Fortunately I haven't gone through it, but I heard about it when I had GI symptoms that wouldn't go away. In my research I discovered a trend of women who had been diagnosed with IBS, only to find out they had ovarian cancer all along (and often by then it was too late). I had gone to dozens of doctors, and none of them even mentioned my reproductive system. In the end I got an ultrasound, and fortunately it was all fine. But if ever you have persistent digestive/bladder issues and those organs look fine, ask for a pelvic ultrasound. Source: iStock
Antibiotics Can Give You Yeast InfectionsYnotZoidberg1077: When you take antibiotics, you can get a yeast infection. I had no idea that's what was causing it until a nurse said, conversationally during an appointment, "Oh man, a UTI! Did you get a yeast infection from the meds? That always happens to me and I hate it!" Blew my mind. Now I know to just go and pick up some Monistat with any antibiotic prescription, because it happens like clockwork. Some doctors will warn you about this, but many won't. Whenever you're on an antibiotic, you should try to eat one yogurt every day (this helps keep things balanced and can prevent a yeast infection). Or talk to your doctor and take acidophilus pills. Source: iStock
Urinary Tract Infections Can Be Avoided By Peeing After SexWildHoneyChild: Also, I'm sure this is also pretty common knowledge by now (at least on here), but urinary tract infections are also more common in women, and can often be prevented just by peeing right after sex, wearing cotton panties, drinking more water, and wiping front to back. I went through two or three miserable UTIs before I learned to pee after sex. That's really something that needs to be more commonly taught. It's not common knowledge! I am constantly surprised by the amount of women who don't realize this stuff, and that's not their fault. Source: iStock
Vitamin Defiencies Are Real, Common, and ImportantLOUD_MICROWAVE: Vitamin deficiencies will slowly and quietly f*** you up. If you're feeling lethargic, losing hair, or having joint/muscle pain, ask for a blood test. At first my doctor told me I was developing an autoimmune disease; turns out I was just ridiculously deficient in vitamins D and B12 plus magnesium and zinc. I thought I'd been eating well, but some people don't absorb nutrients as ably as others. Definitely important to know. Also important: taking too many vitamins is not good either. Before you take any, make sure you talk to a doctor. Source: iStock
Holding In Your Pee Leads To Infectionsjapaneseknotweed: Are you a "camel" -- but instead of going ages without drinking, do you go all day without peeing? Don't do that. Nurses, teachers, and other women whose jobs sometimes keep them from peeing often enough can eventually lose bladder elasticity. You stop being able to squeeze out every last drop, which means a bit remains -- which means more frequent infections, since that last little bit can act as a starter culture. I know too many women who hold in their pee for hours because they're super busy. Don't do this! Source: iStock
Inflammatory Breast Cancerapricotpajamas: Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It doesn't present as a lump but as a mark on the skin or dimpling . It's rare but it's the most lethal with low rates of survival. It's typically misdiagnosed as a skin issue first, and often it's too late by the time people figure it out. My 38 year old sister has it. Source: iStock
Hashimoto's Diseasecold_coils: Hashimoto's disease. If you are having symptoms of a hypoactive thyroid, but your blood tests keep coming back normal, ask for a thyroid antibody test. Seriously. I have been chasing a diagnosis for a decade but have continually been told that "everything is fine, sorry for your luck". My symptoms are finally getting to the point where I'm having trouble functioning. My current doctor decided to test for Hashimoto's disease. I'm both happy that I finally have a diagnosis and mad that I have had to live with this for years. It just took my symptoms getting near debilitating for doctors to take me seriously, I guess! Also, Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of a hypoactive thyroid and affects mainly women. Source: iStock
Lupusleopard_pants1: It's not super common but approx 90% of lupus sufferers are women, onset is normally between 16-45. I went to my GP because I was really tired and run down. She did some blood work and thought it was a vitamin b12 deficiency. I had the series of three shots and sent away. What I didn't realise at the time was the joint pain I was having (not specific to one area) was actually a symptom and not a result of me being bad the gym. Anyway, once I had the b12 shots the joint pain went away, after about 2 months it came back with a vengeance and prompted me to go back to the doctor. As soon as I mentioned the joint pain I could see that she was concerned, she sent me to have my Anti-Nuclear Antibodies tested, along with some other things, and turned out that it was lupus. The point of the story is mention everything that is going on to your doctor, even if you think it may not be an issue. Source: iStock
Polycystic Ovarian SyndromeCuddlebunz: It's not unheard of but it's sort of unknown for some reason even though a lot of women are affected by it: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Awareness won't really help much, but it can definitely offer an explination to some health issues people may be experiencing. Worse is that a lot of doctors are not overly knowledgeable on it either unless they specialize in women's health. Source: iStock
EndometriosisElsieoc: Endometriosis. If a doctor doesn't believe your pain, find a new one. Demand an answer. Endometriosis is pretty common and can lead to infertility. A lot of times symptoms include severe PMS, like severe cramping and irregular periods. You should always ask your doctor about this possibility. Source: iStock
Raynaud's Diseaseleviosaahh: It isn't disabling or anything but I didn't realize that I had Raynaud's disease until I sent my mom a picture of my white-death fingers one day and she flipped out. Raynaud's is a disease which causes parts of your body (for me mainly my hands and feet) to feel cold and prickly when you get cold or stressed. It's also usually a symptom and a warning sign of another more serious disease, like scleroderma or lupus. And it affects mostly women. Source: iStock
Thyroid Problemsgiaryka: GET YOUR THYROID CHECKED!! Can't stress that enough. I had symptoms for years and a growth other doctors had brushed off as a normal gland. I had 7 miscarriages during the course of 3 years between 2 children. My two live births had horrible pregnancies, I went into preterm labor with both and almost lost my son. They finally ran blood work afterwards when my OB became suspicious and my thyroid levels had crashed. This all led to a series of ultrasounds, CT scans, a biopsy and a thyroidectomy which I found out I had stage 1 papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer). I was blessed because thyroid cancer can be very slow moving. No chemo or anything involved, just surgery and one dose of radiation. But it's not always the case with everyone. Women are more susceptible than men. I had one main nodule with calcification and other nodules spread on both sides, I realized after my surgery just how much it was pressing on my wind pipe. Look up the symptoms for hyper and hypo thyroid if you have a mystery illness that you can't put your finger on which may include extreme exhaustion and weight gain. Source: iStock
Your Period Should Never Stop Out Of NowhereHelenOnReddit: If your period stops, and it's not explainable by menopause or birth control, you should probably see a doctor, especially if you have been losing weight. Your body actually needs some fat to be healthy. It needs fat to make estrogen. Estrogen is needed both for periods and for bone health. So a stopped period is a warning sign that you may have pathological fractures later on down the road. Source: iStock
Most Diseases That Affect WomenAmecha: Diseases the affect primarily women are severely understudied. Except breast cancer, cause you know, save the tits cause men love tits. Unfortunately, this is true (I don't know about that last part, but the first part is). Do your research! Source: iStock
Which one of these health issues surprised you the most? What did we forget to include? Let us know in the comments.