Dr Chin Shi Yei, Primary Care Doctor

1 March, 2023

Women’s health at different stages of life

Women’s health at all life stages require specific care and attention, starting from menstruation in adolescence years to menopause during their golden years. Many women may not understand that their reproductive cycle greatly affects the many stages of a woman’s life as estrogen levels directly link many of the physical health issues that women experience during the various life stages.

When women are conceived with a baby, they would immediately begin displaying physiological differences from men. They express genes in the placenta differently, improving placenta development and pregnancy maintenance. Women begin developing breasts while they are still in the womb, and they are born with the milk-duct system already in place. During the adolescence stage, girls begin to develop identities through repeated interactions, conflicts, and disappointments. As young as age six, girls begin developing concerns about their weight. Around the age of eight, the ovaries begin to produce estrogen causing the breasts and areolas to enlarge and buds to appear around the nipple. They also begin to grow pubic hair and hair under their arms.

Women's Health: Teenagers

During puberty, an adolescence would require going through periods, polycystic ovary, sexual health issues, nutritional health problems and anorexia nervosa. At this stage in life, girls should take a balanced diet, drink plenty of milk, eat fruits and opt for a diet rich in calcium. This is the time bones are gaining their greatest strength for the rest of your life.

Women's Health: Reproductive Age

During the reproductive years, a woman must go through pregnancy and all its complications. Programs of contraception’s and its failure, abnormal uterine bleeding and sexually transmitted diseases are the few health problems. Regular PAP smear and preventive health check- up can detect few diseases at its earlier stages. Hence, saving their lives along the way. It is also important for women to be educated with risks and solutions relating to their health conditions.

Women's Health: Midlife Crisis

In midlife as mature adults, maintaining cardiovascular health with aerobic activity, and maintaining flexibility and posture are important exercise related goals for health at this stage. For many women, breast health includes concerns about breast lumps, breast pain or nipple discharge. To promote breast health, consider doing a breast examination. It’s also important to understand common screening and diagnostic tests for breast health –such as clinical breast exams and breast ultrasound. Mammography is recommended for all women above 40 yrs.

Women's Health: Menopause

Menopause begins in the late 40s and early 50s in most women. It officially begins when a woman goes a full year without menstruating. During this time, estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate. As estrogen levels decrease, many tissues in the body, including the breasts lose hydration and elasticity. As life expectancy increased, the number of postmenopausal diseases has also increased. Many women are affected by physical conditions like urinary incontinence, chronic migraines and breast cancer. Osteoporosis, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in arteries) also begin affecting many women after menopause.

In conclusion, women’s bodies go through major changes throughout their lives, leading to differences which encompasses a wide range of physical, emotional, and mental issues. Women and girls can then take charge of their healthcare by being aware of the changes their bodies are going through and understanding their risks for diseases or conditions. It is important for women to be informed about their health and to have access to healthcare providers who understand their unique needs at every stage of life. Regular check-ups and screenings, as well as healthy lifestyle choices, can help ensure optimal health throughout a woman’s life.