Sometimes health conditions can make you feel like the only person in the world with a certain problem. But for the most part, countless other people are dealing with the same issue right now. In fact, there are so many seemingly weird female medical problems that are really quite common and widespread. Even if your particular issue feels a bit embarrassing or private, you're almost certainly not the only person dealing with it.
In many cases, even in the age of the overshare, lots of people still keep their health issues to themselves. This kind of privacy is fine, of course, but the lack of dialogue around certain medical conditions might make people feel weird about having those symptoms. For females in particular, issues around menstruation or bathroom issues may feel embarrassing to discuss out loud, even with a medical professional. The doctors have heard it all before (and then some), but it's understandable if talking about these subjects makes you feel a bit uncomfortable.
That said, it may be worth the effort to go ahead and seek help for some of these embarrassing or otherwise private medical issues. Sometimes these issues are easily treatable (so you don't have to even deal with them anymore), and in other cases they may point toward a more serious health condition. In any event, there's no need to feel embarrassed by these totally common health issues that women face every day.
1. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
If your menstrual cycle is basically impossible to track on a calendar, just know that plenty of other people deal with the same issue. "At least 30 percent of women have irregular periods during their childbearing years," said Amy Autry, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics-gynecology and reproductive science, in Everyday Health. For some people these irregular periods are just an annoyance, but for others, they can signify a more serious condition. In many instances, women experience a lifetime of irregular menstrual cycles and only really look into it when they have issues becoming pregnant, explains Dr. Julie Lamb, MD, FACOG, and member of Modern Fertility's Medical Advisory Board. At this point they may discover the irregular periods are linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the leading causes of infertility. So although irregular cycles are by no means uncommon, it's still a good idea to get checked out by a doctor if you're experiencing them.
2. Hair Loss
Hair loss isn't only a concern for males. "Hair loss in women is more widespread than people may realize," says Dr. Dan Danyo, founder of North Atlanta Hair Restoration. In addition, female hair loss can have many different causes. "It could be a vitamin deficiency, inflammation issue, hormone imbalance, a result of stress or medicines you take, a thyroid issue or something else," says Dr. Danyo. Hair loss is worth investigating with your doctor.
3. Urinary Incontinence
Bladder leakage is also not that rare. "A 'weird' medical problem for females that turns out to be widespread is urinary incontinence (bladder leaks), says MaryEllen Reider, co-founder of Yarlap, a pelvic floor trainer. "It is not just for women who are postpartum or older than 65. Women of every age can have involuntary bladder leaks because their pelvic floors are weakened." If you're concerned about bladder leaks, then definitely discuss it with your doctor.
4. IBS Issues
Stomach issues are definitely nothing unusual. "Frequent diarrhea with stomach pain is common among females, but not normal," says Dr. Howard Franklin, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Salix Pharmaceuticals and GI expert. "Many women ignore these symptoms or feel embarrassed to discuss them with their doctor, but they really need to, because these are symptoms of diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D)." It's generally a treatable condition, so you don't have to deal with that level of discomfort forever.
5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If you feel tired literally all the time, then you're far from alone. In general, women are two to four times more likely to get diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a condition characterized by extreme exhaustion, concentration issues, and occasional dizzy spells, according to The Office on Women's Health. Although there is currently no single cure for CFS, the symptoms can be treated by a medical doctor. So if this or any other medical symptom sounds too familiar, then don't hesitate to reach out to your physician for help.