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Top 10 Conditions at CureTogether: Chronic, Women’s Health

What do the 10 most active conditions at CureTogether have in common? As you can see from the chart below, most of them are chronic conditions, and many affect more women than men.* To learn more about what these conditions are, read on below the chart.

picture-151Vulvodynia saw a big surge in data around the release of the crowdsourced book, Vulvodynia Heroes, compiled by CureTogether with input from 190 women. This chart also only captures a representative portion of the data recorded by people with these conditions.

So what are these conditions? While they are all common, some of them are not commonly known, so you may not have heard of them. Here’s a quick run-down:

Vulvodynia

Affects: 16% of women at some point in their lives. That’s 48 million women in the US alone.

What it is: A chronic condition characterized by pain and burning in the vulva without infection or other disease present.  Most commonly reported symptoms are burning, stinging, and/or rawness.  Some women describe the pain as “acid being poured on their skin” or as “constant knife-like pain.”

Source: NVA

Endometriosis

Affects: 5 – 10% of women.

What it is: A condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the body. The most common symptom is pelvic pain, which for many women is severe and debilitating. An estimated 30-40% of women with endometriosis may not be able to have children.

Sources: endometriosis.org, Wikipedia

Migraine

Affects: 12 – 28% of people at some point in their lives, women 3 times more affected than men.

What it is: A neurological syndrome involving painful headaches, altered bodily experiences, and nausea. A typical migraine headache is unilateral and pulsating, lasting 4 to 72 hours. Estimated US medical costs for migraine are $1B a year, with lost productivity estimated at $13-17B a year.

Sources: NHF, Wikipedia

Depression

Affects: 8-12% of people at some point in their lives, women twice as affected as men.

What it is: A condition characterized by a pervasive low mood, low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Depression often co-occurs with other conditions like anxiety, ADHD, pain disorders, and PTSD. It also commonly occurs after childbirth.

Source: Wikipedia

Anxiety

Affects: Anxiety disorders affect 16% of people at some point in their lives, women more than men.

What it is: A physiological and psychological state characterized by uneasiness, apprehension, or worry. While anxiety is a normal response to stress, anxiety disorders include panic disorder, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias.

Sources: EMBH, NIMH, Wikipedia

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Affects: Up to 20% of the US population, women more affected than men.

What it is: A condition characterized most commonly by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Most people can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications. For some people, however, IBS can be disabling.

Source: NIDDK

Vulvar Vestibulitis

Affects: A subset of women who have vulvodynia (see above).

What it is: A chronic condition where pain is felt only in the vestibule, and only during or after contact. Burning sensations are the most common symptom and may be experienced with: sexual intercourse, tampon insertion, gynecologic examination, bicycle riding, or wearing tight pants.

Source: NVA

Insomnia

Affects: 21% of the US population, women 1.4 times more affected than men.

What it is: A symptom of a sleeping disorder characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It is often followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomniacs may be unable to close their eyes or “rest their mind” for more than a few minutes at a time.

Source: Wikipedia

Acid Reflux

Affects: 5-7% of the global population daily, up to 1/3 of Americans.

What it is: A symptom of GERD (Gastroestrophageal Reflux Disease), along with heartburn, that occurs when the lining of the esophagus is exposed to acidic contents from the stomach if the lower esophageal sphincter does not seal off the esophagus from the stomach.

Source: IFFGD

Back pain

Affects: 80% of the US population at some point in their lives.

What it is: Pain in the back, often the lower back. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. It can often be prevented or improved with proper body mechanics, regular exercise, chiropractic care, acupuncture, or massage.

Source: Mayo Clinic

*The data presented above reflect only the current population of members at CureTogether, which may not be representative of the larger population of global health citizens. It does serve as an interesting snapshot of the direction that CureTogether members are telling us to take in this great, crowdsourced research project.


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3 Responses to “Top 10 Conditions at CureTogether: Chronic, Women’s Health”

  1. “…and many affect more women than men.” -is this because more site-users are women than men? Just curious about the stats, thanks! =)

  2. Thanks for the question, Faren! According to a 2004 Kaiser report (http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/Women-and-Health-Care-A-National-Profile-Key-Findings-from-the-Kaiser-Women-s-Health-Survey-Report-Highlights.pdf), more women are affected by chronic conditions than men. However, it is also possible that since we started with women’s health conditions at CureTogether, we have attracted more women than men to join as members.

  3. [...] the other? I ran this past Alex, who said that at CureTogether ~2/3 of her members are women. In this reply she suggests a hypothesis: Thanks for the question, Faren! According to a 2004 Kaiser report, more [...]

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