Both women and men experience almost the same health problems. However, because of anatomical and physiological differences, health problems can affect women differently. For example, women may have different signs and symptoms of heart attacks, strokes, and anxiety attacks. Some diseases or conditions are more common in women than in men, such as low bone density, obesity and depression. Other health conditions are unique to women such as menstruation, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause and pregnancy.
Women often neglect their own health and focus on the health and medical needs of their spouses and/or of their children. Seeking out health education and counseling for prevention against the onset of any disease or disorder is an investment to one's health and those around them. Health should be everyone's number one priority!
For more information on women’s health, click on the websites below.
- Women’s Health Matter
Covering topics that matter from Breast Cancer Screening, Cardiovascular Health, Skin Cancer, Environmental Health, and for much more check this site out!
- Women’s Health Foundation
Ever wondered about Pelvic Health? It’s never crossed your mind? Never even heard about it? Check out this site for education on Life Stage Events for women and pelvic health and wellness.
- For information on specific health topics, conditions, and references check online the Women’s Health Center.
- For an easy overview on Women’s Health and variety of health topics including the latest news, treatment, prevention/screening, nutrition, coping, health check tools, clinical trials & research, check out MedlinePlus.gov
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lives.
Some risk factors include:
- Age: the chance of getting breast cancer rises as a women gets older.
- Genes: there are two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that generally increase the risk. Women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested.
- Personal factors: beginning periods before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55.
- Other risks include being overweight, using hormone replacement therapy, taking birth control pills, drinking alcohol, not having children or having your first child after 35 or having dense breasts.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exam and mammography can help find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. Treatment may consist of radiation, lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.
Men can have breast cancer too, but the number of cases is small.
To schedule an appointment to receive health education information and education on self-breast exam contact Student Health Services at (956) 882-3896.
Screening Exam, What is a Pap Test?
A Pap test or Pap smear checks for changes in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the womb, which opens into the vagina. The test can find cancer cells, or cells that could turn into cancer.
When should women start getting Pap tests?
All women should start getting Pap tests about 3 years after they first have vaginal sex. All women should be getting Pap tests by the time they are 21 years old.
How is a Pap test done?
- A physician or nurse inserts a speculum into the vagina to see the cervix
- A physician or nurse takes a sample of cells from inside and outside the cervix
How to prepare for a Pap test:
For about 2 days before a Pap test, DO NOT:
- Have sex
- Use tampons
- Use birth control that is put into the vagina, like foam, cream, or jelly.
- Use any medicine that is put into the vagina
- Use a vaginal lubrication
- Use feminine deodorant sprays or powders
- Take a tub bath
Do not have a Pap test if you are having your period. It can make it harder to find cells that are not normal. Call to change your appointment.
How often should women get Pap tests?
A women should talk with her physician or nurse to decide how often to have Pap tests. How often can be based on many things, including:
- Her age
- Results of a pap test in the past
- Medical history
- Having human papillomavirus (HPV)
When should women stop getting Pap tests?
Women can stop getting a Pap test at 70 years old if the results of all Pap tests in the last 10 years were normal. All women over 70 should still have a pelvic exam every year.
What about women who have had a hysterectomy?
- Women who have had a partial hysterectomy still need to get Pap tests. This surgery takes out the womb (uterus) but NOT the cervix.
- Women who have had a total hysterectomy may stop getting Pap test. This surgery takes out the womb and the cervix.
- Even after stopping Pap smears, all women should get a pelvic exam each year.
For more information on HPV refer to the Center for Disease Control’s updated information. - Click here
To schedule an appointment to receive health education information and to receive a Pap smear contact Student Health Services at (956) 882-3896.
HIV in Women
HIV and AIDS were originally thought to affect mostly gay men. However, women have always been affected too. And even though more men than women have HIV, women are catching up. In fact, if new HIV infections continue at their current rate worldwide, women with HIV may soon outnumber men with HIV.
The good news is that many women with HIV are living longer and stronger lives. With proper care and treatment, many women can continue to take care of themselves and others.
In some respects HIV and AIDS affect women in almost the same way they affect men. For example,
- Women of color (especially African American women) are the hardest hit.
- Younger women are more likely than older women to get HIV.
- AIDS is a common killer, second only to cancer and heart disease for women.
How are women getting HIV?
The most common ways are (in order)
- having sex with a man who has HIV
- sharing injection drug works (needles, syringes, etc.) used by someone with HIV
What can Women do? Be proactive and informed on what HIV is and how it can affect someone’s life. Refer to Center for Disease Control for more information on what women can do. <http://cdc.gov/hiv/topics/women/protection.htm>
For more information on free and confidential HIV Testing please contact Student Health Services at (956) 882-3896.