Women's Health (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Introduction to women's health
- Women's general health and wellness
- Female anatomy
- The female reproductive system
- Female hormones
- Diseases more common in women
- Cancer in women
- Women's cosmetic concerns
- Fertility, birth control, and infertility
- The mature woman - post menopause
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
A woman who has children devotes a large proportion of her life to motherhood. Although a woman's fertility is limited roughly to a 40 year period, her mothering responsibilities may last considerably longer -- 60 years or so. And most mothers never cease being concerned about the health and welfare of their children (and grandchildren), no matter what their ages. In other words, a mother is a mother forever.
During the time of motherhood, a woman is responsible not only for maintaining her own health but also for maximizing the health of her family. Roughly one-third of all children in this country (19 million) live apart from their fathers, which means that society still relies on mothers to protect and nurture their children.
The term menopause is used to describe an event or a period of time in a woman's life. In some contexts, it is used to designate a period of a number of years, typically the time when a woman is in her 40's through the decade of her 50's and beyond. Strictly speaking, a woman is said to have experienced menopause when she has had 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. On the average, menopause occurs around 51 years of age. The premenopausal process, however, actually begins in the early 40's or earlier. Diminishing sex hormone levels can be measured in a woman in her mid-30's.
"Menopausal" women represent a major component of the population; an estimated 50 million women in the US have reached menopause. Most women can expect to spend around 1/3 of their lives after menopause has occurred.
Menopause has often been referred to as "the change of life" because it is a time in a woman's life when menstruation stops and she can no longer bear children. Symptoms of menopause may include:
- hot flashes,
- mood swings,
- vaginal dryness,
- fluctuations in sexual desire,
- trouble sleeping, and
- urinary incontinence.
Until the 1950's, society's attitude was that menopause is a woman's destiny and she should just accept it. Now there are many medical strategies to cope with the symptoms of menopause. Women are encouraged to think of menopause not as a cataclysmic event in life, but merely as a time of transition.
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