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Women’s health issues doctors may miss

While many women are comfortable with their family practice or women’s health office and find they get good care, many more women are dissatisfied. Experts say that many women complain that their doctors aren’t taking their symptoms seriously. They’re told symptoms could be psychosomatic or the result of over-worrying. As a result, many walk out of medical offices without answers and could face further complications down the line.

Women's HealthOftentimes, women are suffering from an autoimmune disease, in which the body is attacking itself. Doctors could miss the symptoms and rule it out as “something in your head.” However, generally women know when something is amiss with their bodies. Therefore, it is important for women to educate themselves about common diseases that often go undiagnosed. Learning about the risk factors and the symptoms of diseases can help you to get help and feel better faster by broaching the subject with your doctor.

Fibromyalgia

This is often unexplainable widespread pain, extreme tiredness and sometimes numbness that lasts for months or more. There are no lab tests to test for fibromyalgia; therefore, doctors generally go through a few questions and do a tender point test. If various points on the body are tender without obvious sign of bruising or redness, it could be fibromyalgia.

There is no cure, only pain medication to alleviate symptoms. Light exercise with stretching can help.

Lupus

Each year, more than 16,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lupus — 90 percent of them are women. Doctors think that hormones play a role in lupus, seeing as many women are diagnosed right after pregnancy. Lupus affects many areas of the body, including the blood, kidneys, skin, joints and lungs. Generally, the body becomes its own worst nightmare.

Lupus is diagnosed if you have at least four of the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medication is used to treat the pain of lupus, but there is no cure.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is another debilitating disease that can impact quality of life. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) attacks the linings of the joints (called synovium) due to the immune system. Swelling, aching, and potential deformity in hands, wrists, hips, knees, and feet can occur.

RA can be difficult to diagnose because many different types of arthritis have the same symptoms. However, an antibody called rheumatoid factor is present in 80 percent of RA patients. A blood test can detect this antibody. Tests that measure inflammation also may be ordered. For a visual, X-rays are taken over time to plot the level of joint deterioration. High doses of omega fatty acids can help with swelling and pain, as can certain medications.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

This is caused by high levels of androgens –male hormones — in a woman’s body. The androgens form when there is too much insulin present. The insulin infiltrates the ovaries and causes them to produce more testosterone. Cysts form as a result. Half of all women with PCOS end up with diabetes.

Symptoms of PCOS include excessive weight gain, more hair growth on the chest, face, back and limbs, irregular or nonexistent periods, and baldness.

When other diseases are ruled out, such as hyperthyroidism, an ultrasound to see if abnormal growths are present on the ovaries could be ordered. Treatment includes birth control pills to regulate menstruation and medicine to reduce blood glucose.

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Posted by on Nov 10 2010. Filed under Women Today. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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