Women's Health Matters

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Diseases and conditions

In this section, you'll find articles about health conditions that affect women. Scroll down to see categories for specific conditions.

General articles

Hair loss in women: right diagnosis leads to the right treatment
July 6, 2015
There are over 100 reasons to lose hair and determining the exact cause is essential in order to initiate the proper treatment. Many hair loss conditions are treated differently – so getting a specific diagnosis is critical to getting the right treatment.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: PCOS is more than a reproductive condition
Jan. 7, 2015 Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common hormonal condition in women of reproductive age, affecting between five and 10 per cent of women. However, it's more than a reproductive condition. It’s a metabolic condition that is linked to health issues such as insulin resistance, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Managing incontinence
November 2014 Incontinence – the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder – is a very common symptom. This month, Women’s Health Matters spoke to Frances Stewart, advanced practice nurse and nurse continence advisor at Women’s College Hospital, about different types of incontinence and how to manage them.

Effective Kegel exercises
October 2014
Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which support the bladder and other pelvic organs, and can help treat stress urinary incontinence. Women's Health Matters spoke to Frances Stewart, advanced practice nurse and nurse continence advisor at Women's College Hospital, about how to do Kegels correctly to achieve results.

Painful periods: causes and care
Oct. 23, 2014 Painful periods are a common problem. Read about some of the most common causes, and what treatments are available.

Hot flashes and night sweats in perimenopause
Sept. 8, 2014 During perimenopause – the transitional time leading up to menopause – fluctuations in hormone levels can cause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Women’s Health Matters spoke to Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital, about how to treat these vasomotor symptoms.

Fertility and age
August 23, 2014
Women’s fertility is limited by time. Fertility changes over the course of women’s reproductive lives, decreasing as they get older. A woman’s ability to get pregnant starts to decline many years before she reaches menopause.

Heavy periods
September 2014 Heavy periods can be more than just an inconvenience. They can also affect a woman's health and quality of life. Women’s Health Matters spoke to Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital, about possible causes and treatments.

When should I seek fertility help?
August 2014 It's not always easy to get pregnant. Women's Health Matters spoke to Dr. Sony Sierra, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, about when to seek fertility help.

Missed or infrequent periods
July 2014 Your period can be considered a vital sign. It’s a sign that your body is in a healthy enough state to support a pregnancy. Women's Health Matters asked Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital, about missed or infrequent periods.

What is overactive bladder?
December 2013 People with overactive bladder make eight or more trips to the bathroom a day, and may get up twice or more in the night, with an urgent need to urinate. They may also experience urge incontinence. We spoke to Frances Stewart, advanced practice nurse and nurse continence advisor at Women’s College Hospital, about overactive bladder, and steps people can take to help manage it.

Flu shot myths and facts
October 2013 October is the start of flu season. As the flu virus starts to circulate, so do questions about flu shots and flu prevention. To clear up some common concerns, Women’s Health Matters spoke to Jessica Ng, manager of infection prevention & control at Women’s College Hospital, about flu vaccine myths and facts.

Managing migraine
July 31, 2013 More than four million Canadians suffer from migraine, and it affects three times as many women as men. Dr. Christine Lay, director of the Centre for Headache at Women's College Hospital, talks about what migraine is, and what patients can do to take control of their migraines.

When should I have a mole checked out?
July 2013 We spoke with Dr. Jensen Yeung, medical director of the Ricky Kanee Schachter Dermatology Centre and the Phototherapy Education and Research Centre at Women’s College Hospital, about how to monitor your own skin for suspicious moles.

Why does MS affect more women than men?
May 2013 For multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness month in May, Women’s Health Matters spoke with Dr. Shannon Dunn, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and Toronto General Research Institute, about her research into sex differences in MS.

Endometriosis: a common cause of pelvic pain
March 25, 2013
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the endometrium – the tissue that lines the uterus – also grows outside the uterus. It is a common condition that affects women in their reproductive years.

Screening is the best protection against colorectal cancer
March 15, 2013 Colorectal cancer is cancer that affects the colon (also called the large intestine) or the rectum. It is the third most common cancer in women, after breast and lung cancer. The best way to protect yourself is colorectal cancer screening.

Yeast infections: when to see a doctor
Feb. 28, 2013 Most women will have a yeast infection at some point: 75 per cent of women get at least one during their lifetime. While there are plenty of over-the-counter treatments, there are times when it’s wise to see a doctor.

Breast cancer survivors may be more likely to develop diabetes
Dec. 13, 2012
New research from Women’s College Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences indicates that post-menopausal breast cancer survivors have an increased risk of developing diabetes compared to women who haven’t had breast cancer.

Despite declining smoking rates, women continue to develop lung diseases
Nov. 15, 2012 Lungs might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of differences between men and women, but smoking-related lung diseases do affect men and women differently.

Knowing your breasts: how early detection can save your life
Nov. 8, 2012 Since the mid-1980s, the death rate from breast cancer among Canadian women has decreased in each age group because of life-saving breast screening programs, increased breast awareness, as well as improved treatment options.

Young adults and Type 1 diabetes: transitioning support from pediatric programs into adult care
Oct. 11, 2012 Young adults between the ages of 18-30 with Type 1 diabetes require continuous assistance and support from family, friends and their health care providers beyond pediatric care.

New guidelines for cervical cancer screening
Sept. 5, 2012 Regular Pap screening is a crucial defence against cervical cancer. Cancer Care Ontario recently updated its cervical cancer screening guidelines.

Rising rates of Type 2 diabetes in young women
July 12, 2012 More young women are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which may affect their child-bearing years.

Spirometry: the health test that's often overlooked
June 26, 2012 For World Spirometry Day on June 27, Women’s Health Matters spoke to Women’s College Hospital respirologist Dr. Anna Day about what the test is, and why it’s so important for many women to have one.

Wide awake: the causes and treatment of insomnia and RLS
April 30, 2012 Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Do you wake up feeling as though you never fell asleep in the first place? If so, you’re among the many North American women who experience sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Pap, HPV and vaccination: what it is and why it’s important
April 19, 2012 Did you know that about 70 to 80 per cent of the population gets a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection at some point in their life? Get the facts on HPV, Paps, and vaccinations.

Feeling blue? All about winter blues, seasonal affective disorder and clinical depression
Feb. 13, 2012 There's a big difference between feeling down and experiencing depression.

Food for thought: eating behaviour, healthy habits and disordered eating
Feb. 6, 2012 Providing you with the tools to understand and develop healthy eating habits.

Stigma and coping strategies among HIV-positive women are complex and overlapping
Nov. 22, 2011 Read about a new study that addresses the experiences of stigma and coping strategies among HIV-positive women in Ontario

Hair loss can be distressing, so let's get to the root of the problem
Nov. 11, 2011 Learn about the hair cycle, types of hair loss and available treatments.

POWER Study highlights older women's health needs
Oct. 27, 2011 Read the latest chapter of the POWER Study, a comprehensive study of women's health in Ontario.

POWER study highlights differences in C-section and hysterectomy rates in Ontario
March 28, 2011 The POWER study report on reproductive and gynecological health has mostly good news for Ontario women: the province is a very safe place to give birth, for mothers and babies. However, the data also highlight some regional variations in services.

All about over-the-counter pain relievers
Sept. 22, 2011 Learn about different over-the-counter pain medications, and how to use them safely and effectively.

Women’s College Spirit of Discovery: Chronic Diseases
May 20, 2011 Women’s Health Matters reports on Women’s College Hospital’s research day. Part 2: Learn how scientists at Women's College Research Institute are taking new approaches to the chronic conditions that affect women most.

Breast health

Lymphedema risk after breast cancer treatment
Nov. 21, 2013 Women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer may be at risk of developing lymphedema – an accumulation of fluid that results from an inability to drain lymph fluid from tissues. In addition to swelling, lymphedema can cause pain, hardening of tissue and infection.

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy
Nov. 30, 2015 Women undergoing mastectomy to prevent or treat cancer have the option of having breast reconstruction surgery. This is a plastic surgery procedure that restores the shape and appearance of the breast.

On Oct. 21, BRA Day promotes breast reconstruction awareness, access and education
Oct. 19, 2015 Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day – or BRA Day – offers women a unique opportunity to learn about options for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. On Oct. 21, 2015, BRA Day events will take place all over Canada and internationally.

BRCA mutations and breast cancer risk
April 11, 2013 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting one in nine. In a small number of cases – about five to seven per cent – breast cancer is the result of a genetic change that makes a woman more susceptible to it. These genetic changes occur on the breast cancer 1 and breast cancer 2 – or BRCA1 and 2 – genes, and are known as BRCA mutations.

Breast cancer survivors may be more likely to develop diabetes
Dec. 13, 2012
New research from Women’s College Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences indicates that post-menopausal breast cancer survivors have an increased risk of developing diabetes compared to women who haven’t had breast cancer.

Knowing your breasts: how early detection can save your life
Nov. 8, 2012 Since the mid-1980s, the death rate from breast cancer among Canadian women has decreased in each age group because of life-saving breast screening programs, increased breast awareness, as well as improved treatment options.

BRCA mutations and breast cancer risk
April 11, 2013 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting one in nine. In a small number of cases – about five to seven per cent – breast cancer is the result of a genetic change that makes a woman more susceptible to it. These genetic changes occur on the breast cancer 1 and breast cancer 2 – or BRCA1 and 2 – genes, and are known as BRCA mutations.

Women’s College Spirit of Discovery: Breast Cancer
May 20, 2011 Women’s Health Matters reports on Women’s College Hospital’s research day. Part 1: Learn about innovative breast cancer research at Women's College Research Institute.

BRA day: what every woman should know about breast reconstruction
Oct. 14, 2011 An exciting initiative designed to promote education, awareness and access for women considering post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.

Foot care

Feet first: proper foot care will keep you on your toes
Aug. 16, 2011 Your feet don’t just take you from place to place. They also help you balance, support your body, and act as your body’s shock absorbers. With that much going on below your knees, it’s no surprise that feet may need some care.

Orthotics can be a step in the right direction for sore feet
July 25, 2011 For biomechanical foot problems, the solution might be orthotics: custom-made shoe inserts.

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