International Women’s Day has a long history. Starting as a National Woman’s Day event organized by the Socialist Party of America in 1909, it quickly grew into a worldwide celebration of the gains women have made — and the work still to be done. For this International Women’s Day, we’ve prepared a guide to some of the most common health issues affecting us, with tips to reduce our risk so we can live long and healthy lives.
In the US, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, responsible for about one in five deaths. While there is a lot of public awareness of coronary risks for men, many women aren’t aware of the danger heart attacks pose for them as well.
Women also often have less easily recognizable symptoms of heart attacks than men. For men, the most notable symptom of a heart attack is intense pain and or pressure in the chest. While some women have this symptom, many have more subtle symptoms of pressure or discomfort in the jaw or neck, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness or indigestion that they don’t realize are linked to a heart attack. That can lead them to not seek medical attention quickly enough, increasing the risk and seriousness of heart damage.
The best approach to heart disease prevention is a healthy lifestyle. To decrease the risk of a heart attack, women (and men) should avoid smoking, limit themselves to one drink per day, and maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise. A healthy diet, rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables can also reduce coronary risks. Avoid processed food with high salt, added sugar and saturated or trans fats as well.
Breast cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that affects millions of women. One in eight women develops invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Risks vary by race and ethnic group. Black women develop cancer more often than white women and are more likely to die from the condition as well. Ashkenazi Jewish women also have a higher risk of breast cancer, because of a genetic mutation that’s more common in the group. Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian women have lower risks of breast cancer, but can still develop the disease.
Breast Cancer Treatment
A healthy diet and exercise can lower the risk of breast cancer. Consuming a Mediterranean diet, supplemented with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil is good for reducing cancer risk, as well as the risk of other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. However, people who eat healthy diets and exercise regularly can and do get breast cancer. Frequent doctor visits and examinations can help you detect the signs early, increasing your chance of survival if you do develop the disease.
There’s debate on the usefulness of breast self-exams in early detection of breast cancer. However, some organizations still recommend them — particularly for women with higher risks of developing the disease. Whether you opt to perform self-exams or not, be on the lookout for changes in your breasts, such as altered color, size or shape, unusual swelling, redness or soreness, or dimpling or puckering of the skin. If you notice a change or feel a lump that wasn’t there before (many women have lumpy or fibrous areas in their breasts), make an appointment to have a doctor check it out.
Women are at greater risk of osteoporosis — a condition that causes the bones to weaken and become brittle, potentially leading to breakages. Additionally, that risk increases after menopause, as estrogen levels drop. As such, it’s crucial for women to ensure their bones stay healthy.
Maintaining healthy bones starts with a healthy diet, with plenty of calcium every day. Women can get calcium from dairy products, as well as a variety of other foods, such as sardines, salmon, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, and almonds.
Dark green leafy greens also contain Vitamin K, which promotes bone density. Fish like salmon and tuna are also good for bone health because they have Vitamin D, which helps promote the absorption of calcium. Exercise is also important in maintaining healthy bones. Regular weight-bearing cardio exercise like dancing or jogging can build bone density, as can weight lifting and other resistance training exercises. There’s also some evidence that CBD may promote bone formation and help heal broken bones.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
According to the World Health Organization, one out of every three health problems affecting women aged 15 to 44 is related to sexual or reproductive health. One of the most important things you can do to protect your reproductive health is to get tested for STIs. Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship or not currently sexually active, it’s possible to have an undetected infection from a previous partner or an unfaithful one. Testing is quick and easy and can protect your health by curing or treating the infection.
It’s important to take control of your own protection from STIs and unwanted pregnancy. Planned Parenthood has great information on birth control methods, along with their effectiveness, cost, and other relevant information. Keep in mind that, while there are many effective methods for birth control, the only methods for STI prevention are condoms and internal condoms, which actually prevent skin to skin contact.
If you haven’t thought about birth control or STI prevention in a while, take a few minutes to look at the data, and think about what methods are most relevant for you. Preparing ahead of time is the best way to reduce your risk of an STI or unwanted pregnancy.
CBD Products to Support International Women’s Day Health
This full-spectrum CBD balm is a great treatment for women living an active lifecycle. Just rub it in over sore muscles and joints to relieve aches and pains from your exercise routine. The product is made using 100% organic hemp and contains no synthetic ingredients, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals or artificial fragrances.
This powerful CBD roll-on will help reduce menstrual cramping and pain. Apply over your abdomen and ovaries three days before your menstrual cycle to reduce discomfort and pain. This roll-on is potent, with 1000mg of CBD, so use it sparingly — just a little bit should be a lot of help.
Seven Minerals Magnesium Oil is helpful for alleviating the symptoms of migraines, restless leg syndrome, eczema and psoriasis, and digestive health. It may also help reduce anxiety and stress, and aid in sleep.
This intimate massage oil is made with 9 plant-based products known for aphrodisiac properties and contains no artificial ingredients. It’s also the world’s first lube made with broad-spectrum CBD, designed to enhance pleasure and augment your experience — alone, or with a partner. It’s an excellent product for women who experience discomfort or dryness.
Please note that you should not use this product (or any oil-based lube) with latex or polyisoprene. This international women’s day, start taking care of your health the right way!