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About Women\'s Health

Women's health refers to health issues specific to human female anatomy. These often relate to structures such as female genitalia and breasts or to conditions caused by hormones specific to, or most notable in, females. Women's health issues include menstruation, contraception, maternal health, child birth, menopause and breast cancer. They can also include medical situations in which women face problems not directly related to their biology, for example gender-differentiated access to medical treatment.

Women's health is an issue which has been taken up by many feminists, especially where reproductive health is concerned. Women's health is positioned within a wider body of knowledge cited by, amongst others, the World Health Organisation, which places importance on gender as a social determinant of health.

Some health and medical research advocates, particularly the Society for Women's Health Research in the United States, define women's health more broadly than issues specific to human female anatomy to include areas where biological sex differences between women and men exist. Research has demonstrated significant biological differences between the sexes in rates of susceptibility, symptoms and response to treatment in many major areas of health, including heart disease and some cancers.

Issues in reproductive health

One example of this is the Cartwright Inquiry in New Zealand, in which research by two feminist journalists revealed that women with cervical abnormalities were not receiving treatment, as part of an experiment. The women were not told of the abnormalities and several later died. In many countries feminists have campaigned for the right to legal and safe abortion, arguing that it is a health rather than a moral issue. In countries where contraception is difficult to access, campaigns for readily available contraception are conducted on the same lines. Conversely, there have also been campaigns against potentially dangerous forms of contraception such as defective IUDs.

Even in affluent countries like the United States, women’s reproductive health is neglected. For example, in Arizona, conservative members of the state legislature have in the recent decade continuously introduced bills that restrict information about and access to reproductive health. These measures are much to the discontent of many citizens, but Arizona is a majority conservative state. The prominent bills restricting sexual education, contraception, and abortion include:

Other medical issues

Bone Health

Taking proton pump inhibitors (like Prevacid, Nexium, or Prilosec), drugs that decrease stomach acid, are a risk for bone fractures if taken for two or more years. This happens because of a decreased absorption of calcium in the stomach.

Mental health

Mental health consists of a broad scope of measurements of mental well being including depression, stress and measurements of self-worth. Numerous factors affect the prevalence of mental health disorders among women in India, including older age, low educational attainment, fewer children in the home, lack of paid employment and excessive spousal alcohol use. There is also evidence to suggest that disadvantages associated with gender increase the risk for mental health disorders. Women who find it acceptable for men to use violence against female partners may view themselves as less valuable than men. In turn, this may lead women to seek out fewer avenues of healthcare inhibiting their ability to cope with various mental disorders.

Breast cancer

India is facing a growing cancer epidemic, with a large increase in the number of women with breast cancer.By the year 2020 nearly 70 percent of the world’s cancer cases will come from developing countries, with a fifth of those cases coming from India.

Much of the sudden increase in breast cancer cases is attributed to the rise in Westernisation of the country. This includes, but is not limited to, westernised diet, greater urban concentrations of women, and later child bearing.Additionally, problems with India’s health care infrastructure prevent adequate screenings and access for women, ultimately leading to lower health outcomes compared to more developed countries. As of 2012, India has a shortage of trained oncologists and cancer centres, further straining the health care system.

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