Identifying as a woman is great, but sometimes this mantle comes with a host of health issues that we’d rather not deal with. The good news is that it’s not the end of the world and there do exist solutions to our most common female woes.
1. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness in women can be caused by a number of factors, including menopause, breastfeeding, childbirth, birth control, medication, diabetes, and surgery. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it can be treated by avoiding soaps or lotions that are scented or perfumed and using lubricants or vaginal moisturizers. The vagina can also be directly treated with local estrogen for longer-term effects.
A high-tech solution in the form of a laser procedure is available. Dr. Nondumiso Makhunga-Stevenson of Aurora Medical Aesthetics notes that a full examination, pap smear, and urinary test are done before a decision is made for the treatment. The procedure involves a scanner inserted into the vaginal canal to deliver laser energy to the vaginal mucosa.
This stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, and improves the production of elastin and collagen, to restore vaginal walls. For the majority of women, there is some general soreness or discomfort following the procedure, but they can resume their normal activities after a few days. Sexual activity should be avoided for about a week afterward.
Losing weight is probably the best fix for cellulite, suggests dermatologist Dr. Sian Hartshorne, but this isn’t always the answer. Some women are fairly slim, and, despite exercising, still struggle with cellulite. There are many products and procedures which may help, but there really doesn’t seem to be a magic wand for cellulite.
3. Facial hair in women
There are a number of causes of facial hair in women, explains Dr Maureen Allen. Among them are:
- idiopathic hyperandrogenemia (where women have excessive levels of male hormones)
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia (an inherited condition that is triggered when the adrenal glands make abnormal amounts of steroid hormones, such as androgen and cortisol)
- hypo or hyperthyroidism
While there aren’t different types of hair, there are different categories of hair that may appear on a human body in various areas and at different stages of life.
You’ll find tiny, thin, and translucent hair on your cheeks, forehead, nose, and even earlobes. This is called vellus hair. It’ll begin developing during childhood and, as you get older, it’ll mature and can be replaced by thick, dark hair.
Facial hair is traditionally very difficult to treat, as it’s hormone-dependent. Some laser hair-removal systems use infrared light to target the germ cell in the hair follicle. Data has shown that about 30%-90% of the hair doesn’t grow back after the end of the treatment cycle. The success of these laser treatments depends on the initial heat of the laser treatment.
If you’re looking for supplements to help with unwanted hair growth, botanicals such as saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, and nettle help to reduce DHT, a hormone that causes abnormal hair growth and acne. Some of the compounds in cruciferous vegetables are beneficial, so upping your vegetable intake is helpful.
For optimum hormone production and balance, you need to ensure a healthy balance in these five critical systems, so you can treat facial hair from an integrative perspective:
- Blood sugar: Take steps to address blood-sugar dysregulation, such as eating healthy food, avoiding flour, sugar, and industrial seed oils, and adjusting your carbohydrate intake based on your blood-sugar response.
- Stress: You need to manage stress, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and address any gut issues or any other chronic health issues that may cause a stress response in the body.
- Gut health: Inflammation caused by dysbiosis or leaky gut suppresses the function of the hypothalamus and the pituitary in the brain, which produce the stimulating hormones, and also suppresses the function of the adrenals and the ovaries that produce the hormones.
- Detoxification: Eating healthily, following an estrogen detox diet, and adding supplements such as a good probiotic and glutathione will be beneficial.
- Essential fatty acid balance: If you don’t have enough omega-3, and you have too much omega-6, it can drive the production of prostaglandins and lead to an inflammatory environment.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus that can lead to several types of cancers later in life. These include cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. HPV infection can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, at the base of the tongue, and tonsils.
HPV is spread through sexual contact with someone who carries the virus.
Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with 604, 000 new cases and 342, 000 deaths in 2020. According to the World Health Organization, two HPV types (16 and 18) are responsible for nearly 50% of high-grade cervical pre-cancers.
You can protect your child against these cancers with the HPV vaccine at the age of 11-12. If you’re sexually active, you should have regular pap smears.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for the virus itself. This is why it’s so important to be vigilant about your sexual health and undergo regular female check-ups.
However, there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause. For example, genital warts can be treated with prescription medication.