Women’s Health Matters!
Is it me, or do you agree that it is very rare that you see newspapers or news presenters discussing women's health? Are our ‘problems’ so small that they simply don’t matter to others?
I see young women all of the time dealing with problems that they have. Whether it is anxiety, stress, relationship troubles, etc… As much as these things are terrible, the worst thing about it is that young women are dealing with problems on their own. Why? Because the world today is drowning in the glamorous Hollywood image—it’s all about how good your hair looks on the latest Instagram post, whether your lipstick matches your outfit, or what brands you’re wearing. Does any of this really matter? We are too embarrassed to admit our problems or talk about them because we are scared of what people will think. But I think, what does that matter? We all have problems; some more than others. There is always going to be someone worse than you and someone better—no matter where you are on the ladder. We all just have to learn to accept one another and that everyone has problems. Even Keanu Reeves, one of the biggest stars in the Hollywood industry—with a net worth of nearly $400 million dollars—cannot keep problems outside of his door. We are all the same; equal.
I, too, as a young woman find it hard to talk about issues of my own—who doesn't? Of course, it’s scary. We are all human. But what really gets to me is that some people show a level of disrespect towards women's health; some just disregard it like it doesn’t matter, sweep it under the rug thinking it will just pass. There are simply not enough people available to talk to about our health and wellbeing. If there is lots of help available then why:
- Are women twice as likely to experience a type of anxiety disorder compared to men? (60 percent of those with OCD or a phobia are women)
- Do 1.9 percent of women develop anorexia due to an eating disorder —compared to the 0.2 percent of men?
- Do 1 in 4 women have depression?
- Do 8-15 percent of women experience postnatal depression after giving birth?
- Are women—according to research—more likely to self-harm than boys?
- Are two-thirds of those with dementia women?
- Are more women affected by PTSD due to the sexual violence? The risk for developing a PTSD order after a traumatic event stands at 20.4 percent for women, compared with 8.1 percent for men.
There is clearly not enough help around for women’s health. How many times do GPs disregard our symptoms for menstrual cramps or hormones? Why do we have articles titled ‘how to deal with your woman when she is on her period?’ How about get up, stop reading the article, and go and help her feel better instead of avoiding her mood-swings? Whether they are out there or not, it is very rare that we see articles on how to deal with men when they are sick or run-down. It is very rare that women make jokes about avoiding a man when he is in a bad mood. However, I’m sure nearly all of us women hear this… 'it’s clearly that time of month’. It is very frustrating as a woman to be alienated because of something that we cannot help, because of something that is normal. How about we talk to her, ask her if she okay, ask if she needs any help, or just smile? She really isn’t going to bite your head off like you might think.
What about those teenagers who are going through puberty and might not have a mother or female figure to help them along the way? Maybe they are too embarrassed to talk to somebody else. Considering this, is there any help at schools? And if so, is there anyone telling these young women that it’s okay to feel anxious? Do they even know if the help is available? I know I never got offered any help at high school. It is ignored—why? Because it is disregarded as nothing and unimportant.
I was shocked to see an article on the DailyMail stating that GPs dismiss womb illness as period pain, claiming that women simply imagine the symptoms. This is not supporting equality between men and women’s health. This is the reason why I believe that the NHS needs more trained staff to deal with women’s health, otherwise the example of some statistics shown above are only going to rise.
At Manchester Metropolitan University, I know there is plenty of help available that is shown on the students ‘Counselling, Health, and Wellbeing Service’ page, which is for every male and female student that needs some support. DO NOT feel afraid to ask for help. DO NOT let anyone dismiss your symptoms. DO NOT let anyone tell you that you are imagining your symptoms. At the end of the day you know your own body.
AS WOMEN, WE STAND TOGETHER TO SUPPORT WOMEN’S HEALTH. IT MATTERS.