Common Health Problems That Affect More Women Than Men

Posted February 11, 2020 by in Health + Fitness
doctor and patient

While men are unhealthier than women overall, there are some common health problems that affect more women than men. This could be because of the levels of estrogen in women, anatomy, or simply another difference between the two sexes. 

While the general topic of women’s health is broad, here are 8 common conditions that affect women more than they affect men:

Common Health Problems That Affect More Women Than Men

Thyroid Disease 

Thyroid disease is more common in women, as women are 5-8 times as likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck, is responsible for producing important hormones that allow the body to function correctly.

When the thyroid produces too much or too little of these hormones, thyroid disease occurs. Symptoms of thyroid disease include:  

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Thinning hair
  • Muscle weakness

Untreated thyroid disease can lead to added medical conditions, such as mental health problems, heart disease, and lung problems. 

Tip: Do you think you may have hypothyroidism? Check with your doctor, who will use hypothyroid guidelines to see if you have this thyroid disorder.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is an emotional disorder that affects men and women, however, between puberty and the age of 50, women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men. While some anxiety is normal, the level of anxiety you experience from the disorder is long-term and often debilitating.

Anxiety disorder can be the result of a variety of factors, including persistent stress, trauma or pre-existing health problems. 

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: 

  • Sleep problems
  • Restlessness
  • Hypervigilance
  • Racing, unwanted thoughts
  • Irritability

An untreated anxiety disorder can lead to anxiety attacks that affect your normal day-to-day activity, like going to work or school and maintaining healthy relationships. In many cases, anxiety can lead to physical ailments and depression.


It’s estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and 80% of those diagnosed are women. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the mass and density of the bones, which determines how thick and strong your bones are.

As we age, our bones go through a process called remodeling, in which we lose old bone cells and regenerate new ones. The older we get, the slower our bones regenerate, resulting in an overall loss of bone density and mass, causing osteoporosis. 

Symptoms of osteoporosis include: 

  • Brittle bones that are easily broken
  • Stooped posture
  • Back pain
  • Loss of height

Left untreated, osteoporosis causes serious medical issues like spinal fractures and overall loss of mobility. 


Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in men and the third in womenA stroke happens when the blood supply to your brain is suddenly interrupted. The interruption can be caused by blocked arteries or a ruptured artery in or around the brain.

Symptoms of a stroke come suddenly and include:  

  • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Trouble speaking and understanding
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness, loss of balance and coordination and/or trouble walking

Strokes cause brain damage, which results in many other conditions, like memory loss, changes in behavior and a loss of mobility. 

Heart Disease

Heart disease in women is not only one of the most common health problems, heart disease is the cause of 40% of deaths in women

Heart disease is a term for a group of health conditions that affect your heart, including, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia and more.

While heart disease refers to a variety of conditions, overall, heart disease can be the result of family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, obesity and poor diet.

Symptoms of heart disease can include:

  • Persistent chest pain
  • Snoring that sounds like gasping or choking
  • A sudden trend of getting tired quickly
  • A sudden trend of cold sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations

Untreated heart disease can lead to heart failure, a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, atrial fibrillation, and cardiac arrest.


The most common women’s health problem is depression so it’s not surprising that women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. 

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects the way you think and feel about yourself and your life. While the normal ups and downs of life can cause you to feel sad, depression is characterized by long-term, persistent and overwhelming negative feelings.

Symptoms of depression include: 

  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Change in appetite
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Loss of energy 

Untreated depression increases the risk of substance abuse, insomnia, and chronic pain.

If you are experiencing depression, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor for treatment right away.

Multiple Sclerosis 

While multiple sclerosis affects both men and women, it’s 3 times more common in women than men. Multiple sclerosis occurs when your immune system attacks your body, causing an interruption of normal functioning. The disorder damages the protective covering of nerve cells, which affects the brain and spinal cord functioning. 

Symptoms for multiple sclerosis include:

  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue and/or weakness
  • Bladder issues
  • Back pain
  • Eye pain
  • Tingling and burning
  • Heavy legs
  • Rapid, involuntary eye movement

Typically, treatment for multiple sclerosis begins immediately after diagnosis.


28 million out of the 39 million Americans suffering from migraines are women. A migraine is more than a headache, it is a throbbing, pulsing pain experienced on one or both sides of the head. This pain can last for several hours to several days and vary in severity, although even the mild migraines are debilitating to the sufferer. 

Migraines are caused by many different things, including smells, certain foods, sensitivity to light, hormonal changes, stress, and other medical conditions. 

Symptoms of migraines include:

  • Throbbing, pulsing or piercing pain in the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Scalp tenderness

Untreated, migraines can lead to migraine-trigger seizures, vertigo, and depression. 

You can also experience stomach problems, rebound headaches, and other health-related issues from taking too much over-the-counter medication to treat your migraine.

These are some of the common health problems that affect men but are much more prevalent in women.