Listening is sometimes the only thing that is needed to help someone. My Beautiful Ladies or MBL is a support and health group of “Women supporting Women”, whether you just want to listen or need support. We have come a long way since MBL was created a few years ago, and it is time to celebrate women and their achievements by listening, supporting and encouraging.
Here are some of the main issues regarding women’s health that keep me awake at night:
Two of the most common cancers affecting women are breast and cervical cancers. Detecting both these cancers early is key to keeping women alive and healthy.
Sexual and reproductive health problems are responsible for one-third of health issues for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. Unsafe sex is a major risk factor, particularly among women and girls in developing countries.
Many women are now benefitting from the massive improvements in care during pregnancy and childbirth, which were introduced in the last century. But those benefits do not extend everywhere.
Three decades into the AIDS epidemic, it is now young women who often bear the brunt of new HIV infections. Too many young women still struggle to protect themselves against the sexual transmission of HIV and to get the treatment they require. This also leaves them particularly vulnerable to contracting tuberculosis. It might shock you to know that tuberculosis is still one of the leading causes of death in low-income countries of women aged 20 to 59 years.
Sexually transmitted infections
I’ve already mentioned the importance of protecting against HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (the world’s most common STI). But it’s also vital to do a better job of preventing and treating diseases like gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis. It’s unbelievable that in 2021, untreated syphilis is still responsible for more than 200,000 stillbirths and early foetal deaths each year, and for the deaths of over 90,000 newborn babies.
Violence against women
Women can be subject to a range of different forms of violence, but physical and sexual violence (either by a partner or someone else), is particularly invidious. Today, one in three women under 50 has experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner, or non-partner sexual violence i.e. violence that affects their physical and mental health in the short and long term.
Evidence suggests that women are more prone than men to experience anxiety, depression, and somatic complaints; physical symptoms that cannot be medically explained. Depression is the most common mental health problem for women and suicide is a leading cause of death for women under 60.
A group of conditions that includes cardiovascular diseases, cancer, mental health problems, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory disease and musculoskeletal conditions, cause 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in the European Region. These disorders are largely preventable and are linked by common risk factors, underlying determinants and opportunities for intervention.
In a nutshell – helping girls and women adopt healthy lifestyles early on is key to a long and healthy life.
When I lie awake thinking of women and their health, I remind myself the world has made a lot of progress in recent years. We know more, and we are getting better at applying our knowledge. However, we can still do more and support each other. So come and pop over to the MBL – My Beautiful Ladies Facebook page and join like-minded ladies. It is a closed group and a safe place to express yourself without judgement. Following the group’s basic confidentiality and safety rules, you can even post anonymously.
MBL: My Beautiful Ladies – Closed Support Group | Facebook (Not-for-profit, private group forum)
Thank you for listening, supporting and encouraging!