Women’s Health is a branch of medicine that specializes in the care of a woman’s well-being and in the treatment of her illness. Women’s health specialists are mostly Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but other specialists can also join in depending on the woman’s health concern. Other specialists can include surgeons, internists, family medicine specialists, psychiatrists, midwifes, lactation consultants, and others.
Essentially, any health issue or disease that is afflicting a woman can be a topic of interest under the specialty of women’s health. These health issues include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Breast cancer—breast cancer is obviously more common in men than in women. Management of breast cancer may require a team of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and others depending on the stage of cancer.
- Cancers of the reproductive tract—cancers of the reproductive tract can include cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, and even vulvar cancer. Management of these cancers can include a team of gynecologists, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and others depending on the stage of cancer.
- Uterine fibroids—uterine fibroids or myomas are tumors in the uterus that can cause occasional heavy bleeding and pain. These fibroids are managed by gynecologists either medically or surgically.
- Menstrual disorders—these can range from painful menstruation to heavy menstruation to infrequent menstruation or no menstruation at all. Menstrual problems are commonly dealt with by gynecologists.
- Infertility—this is a common concern for many women especially those who are past the age of 30. The problem of infertility requires a comprehensive evaluation of the woman and her partner. A reproductive endocrinologist or a gynecologist usually manages this condition.
- Sexually transmitted disease—this is also a common concern for the sexually active woman. Management of STDs is primarily directed by a gynecologist or an infectious disease specialist. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of STDs is necessary to prevent it’s spread to others.
Women’s Health is also about promoting the well-being of a woman. It is not just about diagnosing and treating health conditions; it is also about promoting good health and preventing illnesses. Topics of health promotion under women’s health may include the following:
- Prenatal care—the care for a woman and her unborn child
- Post-partum care—the care for a woman who has just delivered a baby
- Breastfeeding—promotion of breastfeeding among women who just gave birth and addressing problems or difficulties during breastfeeding
- Breast care—promotion of monthly self-breast examination in order to catch breast cancer at its early phase
- Breast cancer screening—encouragement to undergo annual mammography to women who are 40 years and older
- Menopausal care—addressing the concerns arising from the physiologic changes during menopause including hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, dryness, and others
- Birth control—educating women about the various options for contraception and helping them select the method that is appropriate and suitable for them