Turning 20? Be wary of these women’s health problems

As girls in their 20s are at increased risk of HPV and other STDs, here are some other health problems that are common in women.

HPV
These 5 health problems are the most common in women. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Ila Jalote Updated on: 13 April 2022, 14:45 pm IST
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Women tend to ignore their health. As they turn 20, their sexual health needs protection from Human papillomavirus (HPV) and many more sexually transmitted diseases. Feeling hesitant in talking about intimate problems further compounds the issue. Bringing the health concerns of women into focus and encouraging them to talk about their concerns is the need of the hour.

Here are 5 common health risks that women in their 20s are at:

1. PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder occurring in 4-20 percent of women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have irregular or prolonged menstrual periods. PCOS causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to grow on the ovaries. It can also cause acne, excess hair growth on the face and difficulty in conceiving. If you are suffering from irregular periods, your gynaecologist will do certain blood tests and ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis of PCOS.

pcos mistakes
You just can’t afford to ignore PCOS. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue similar to the lining of the uterus implants outside the uterus. It might form cysts in ovary or deposits in the surrounding area. Endometriosis causes painful periods, heavy bleeding, pain during intercourse, difficulty in conceiving, bloating sensation.

3. Breast problems

Breasts can develop lumps due to many causes like fibroadenoma, fibroadenosis or even breast cancer.

Fibroadenomas are solid, noncancerous breast lumps that occur most often in women between the ages of 15 and 35. A fibroadenoma might feel firm, smooth, rubbery or hard and has a well-defined shape. Fibroadenosis is a non-cancerous change that gives a breast a lumpy texture. This happens due hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle that affect breast tissue. Symptoms include a change in breast texture, pain, tenderness and lumpiness.

Breast cancer should always be ruled out in cases of breast lumps. Every woman should be aware of regular breasts check ups and breast self examination.

breast lumps
Try to know if you have any breast lumps. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

An infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to the womb (uterus), fallopian tubes or ovaries.

It can cause vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, painful sex and even fever.

5. HPV Infection

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is a DNA virus, mainly transmitted through sexual contact. Two HPV types (16 and 18) are responsible for nearly 70 percent of high grade cervical pre-cancers. Many people with HPV don’t develop any symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact. Symptoms may include warts on the genitals or surrounding skin.

cervical cancer
HPV vaccination is critical to protect against cervical cancer. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Safe and effective vaccines that prevent infections from high-risk HPV types 16 and 18 are presently licensed in most countries. Recently, in place of a three-dose vaccine, WHO is endorsing a single dose vaccine that has shown promising results in preventing HPV.

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About the Author
Dr Ila Jalote Dr Ila Jalote

Dr Ila Jalote, ConDr Ila Jalotesultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Manipal Hospital, Gurugram

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