Although women make up half the population in the United States,1 women’s healthcare is a relatively new category. It’s only been within the last century that the medical community has realized the need to focus on the specific needs of women.
For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health wasn’t established until 1991, with a goal of improving the health of U.S. women by advancing and coordinating a comprehensive women’s health agenda.2
Although the need for a focus on women’s specific needs was long overdue, the good news is that women’s healthcare has quickly gained momentum. In fact, the global women’s health market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% through 2030.3 With advances in technology and greater awareness of the unique health differences between men and women, new trends are emerging that may reshape and improve women’s healthcare.
The impact of sex on health outcomes is complex.4 Sex can affect disease risk, progression, and outcomes.4 It is now well known that women experience heart disease differently than men. Another example is that men experience more severe COVID-19 outcomes than women. This is partly due to men having higher quantities of angiotensin-converting enzyme, which binds to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.4
Lifestyle differences between women and men also impact health. Again using COVID-19 as an example, men’s increased risk of acquiring the virus is linked to their lower rates of handwashing, higher rates of smoking and alcohol misuse, and higher comorbidities for severe COVID-19 symptoms as compared to women.4It’s clear that healthcare is not one size fits all. Employing the same medical approach for men and women is outdated and potentially dangerous. We must take sex into account when treating patients—and beyond that, we should consider each patient’s individual health history and lifestyle to provide the most appropriate care.
Those providers who embrace technology to provide personalized medicine will build stronger relationships with the women they treat—and will likely elevate the care they provide.
Topics that used to be whispered about, like menstruation, menopause, sexual wellness, and fertility, are now becoming mainstream. Younger women especially are exposed to a culture where it’s acceptable to talk about their periods and their gynecologic health. The opportunity here is to further promote open dialogue so women feel comfortable discussing their issues and seeking treatment.
See how our website helps women suffering from gynecologic conditions share their stories and lets them know they are not alone in their health journey.
Women are now considering their health in a broader sense, taking into account diet, sleep, gut health, and mental well-being. Women are thinking about how these factors are connected and are seeking out treatments that just decades ago were considered “alternative” medicine. Rather than treating issues in isolation, we can support women by taking their whole health into consideration.
Women’s healthcare is not a niche market; it is a category that includes more than half of our country’s population. Although huge strides have been made, we must continue educating ourselves on the unique aspects of women’s health and advocating for systems that support those differences so women receive the care they deserve.
Help patients learn more about their health by directing them to our patient website, where we talk openly about gynecologic conditions and treatments and where they can hear directly from other women who may share their experiences.
REFERENCES: 1. United States Census Bureau. Quick facts: United States. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US. Accessed January 5, 2023.
2. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health. Vision, mission, goals, and history. https://www.womenshealth.gov/about-us/who-we-are/vision-mission-goals-and-history. Accessed January 5, 2023. 3. Grand View Research. Women’s Health Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Application (Hormonal Infertility, Endometriosis & Uterine Fibroids, Contraceptives, PCOS), By Age, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022–2030. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/womens-health-market. Accessed January 5, 2023. 4. World Health Organization. Questions and answers: gender and health. https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/gender-and-health. Accessed January 5, 2023.
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