Women's Health

Women’s health refers to the health of women, which differs from that of men in many unique ways. Women’s health is an example of population health, where health is defined by the World Health Organization


It’s the inability to conceive after a year or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. It is a complex global concern that is difficult to prevent. Female factor accounts for about 30% of all infertility whereas 15% of all couples experience infertility.

Causes Consequences Treatment Management
  • Ovulatory disorders.
  • Pelvic adhesions.
  • Tubal blockage.
  • Tubal abnormalities.

Female infertility results in negative social, emotional, psychological and financial distress to the woman and couple.

Approach to treatment is personalized and will depend on length of infertility, age of the woman, age of the spouse, and personal preferences. It is worth noting that some causes of infertility cannot be corrected.

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The onset of menopause may vary a great deal from one woman to the next, and the impact it has on each woman is very individual. This phase of life does not have the same pattern for all women. There is also no definite point in time when hormonal changes begin in the female body. Menopause does not start suddenly – it begins very gradually.

The changes are caused by the subtle interaction of the woman’s hormones. These work in our bodies as messengers that control and regulate our metabolic processes. Hormones are transported via our bloodstream to the particular target organs, binding to special cells also called receptors. This works according to the lock-and-key principle, which means that each hormone (key) fits with only one specific receptor (lock). Thus, only certain hormones can dock on specific cells of the target organ and trigger metabolic processes there.

In a woman, the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, among other hormones, control reproduction, follicular development, ovulation, and the formation and shedding of the endometrium. The production of sex hormones changes over the course of life, particularly from the age of 40 onwards. As the production of hormones in the ovaries declines, menopause begins.

This changes the duration, frequency and intensity of the menstrual periods, which become more irregular at first and then stop completely.

Changes in menstrual periods at the start of menopause:

  1. Stronger or weaker periods
  2. Periods with longer or shorter durations
  3. Spotting
  4. Shortened or extended cycles

The change of life or menopause (also known in medical terms as the climacteric) can be divided into 3 different phases. The onset of menopause and its duration is different and individual for every woman.

Although at different times, each woman enters the premenopause stage first, followed by the perimenopause, and then finally ending with the postmenopause.



3 Phases of Menopause

This begins approximately 5-10 years before the last menstrual period, usually between about 40 and 45 years of age. The production of hormones gradually declines during this phase and the cycle becomes more irregular. From around 40 years of age, the woman experiences the first signs in the form of relatively slight symptoms that she may not even notice. Often, it does not occur to her to attribute them to the beginning of the menopause.

This starts one year before the last menstrual period and ends around the year following the last period.

This follows on directly from the perimenopause and nishes around the age of 65. This phase lasts about 12 years in total.


Due to the hormonal changes in women going through the menopause, they can be affected by physical symptoms that can severely impair their quality of life.

This hormonal transition period can cause the body and the psyche to get out of balance.

The best-known symptoms are undoubtedly hot flashes and excessive sweating accompanied by a racing heart and a subsequent cold feeling. These symptoms usually occur during the night, leading to sleep disturbances. However, many women also notice a change in their mood. They often don’t feel like themselves, experiencing irritability, aggression, a lack of drive, anxiety, loss of concentration and a decline in their performance.

Another characteristic of menopause is that the skin ages faster and it loses its elasticity. An increasing number of wrinkles is noticed and the skin also becomes drier and thinner. There is more hair left in the hairbrush than before, and the hair becomes also thinner and more brittle. However, this is also part of the natural aging process.

The good news is that not all women suffer from all of these symptoms. The frequency and the intensity of menopausal symptoms can vary greatly from one woman to the next.

Overview: Menopausal Complaints



  • Decline in performance, lack of concentration, tiredness, sleep disturbances/insomnia, mood swings, irritability
  • Hot flashes, excessive sweating, night sweats, changes in the distribution of body fat, weight gain
  • Dryness of the hair and mucous membranes (e.g. vaginal dryness, dry eye), pain during sexual intercourse, loss of libido, joint complaints


It’s the persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm, or pain that distress you or strain your relationship with your partner. It can occur at any stage of a woman’s life. FSAD can be complex and some research suggests that desire plays a larger role for women in comparison to men.

Medical management options include use of androgens, oestrogen, and Lady Prelox.

Prevalence Symptoms Causes Risks Management
  • Female sexual problems are estimated to affect between 25%-63% of women, with prevalence in postmenopausal women being highest.

  • Loss of sexual desire.
  • Problems with arousal.
  • Inability to achieve orgasm.
  • Painful intercourse.
  • Negative body image.
  • Diminished sexual derivability and attractiveness.
  • The main causes of female sexual arousal disorder can be classified as physical, hormonal, psychological and social. Others include lifestyle effects, stress and dietary factors.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Neurological conditions e.g. spinal cord injury.
  • Gynaecological conditions e.g. vulvovaginal atrophy.
  • Certain prescription medications e.g. antidepressants and high blood pressure drugs.
  • Emotional or psychological stress, especially with respect to partner relationship.
  • A history of sexual abuse.
  • Enhanced partner communication.
  • Healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Professional counselling.


A section of women are unable to enjoy intimacy due to lack of optimal vaginal lubrication. This can result in lowered self-esteem, diminished interest in sex and relationship problems. These women include and are not limited to:

  • Those using contraceptives.
  • During certain stages in a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  • In menopause when oestrogen levels decline.
  • With condom use.
  • Women who have undergone FGM.
  • Women undergoing certain cancer treatments.


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