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.
Vulvodynia 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:
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.”
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
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
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 —
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 —
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.
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.
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.
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.