Common conditions and how to treat them
Back pain The most common type of chronic condition, and lower back pain is more prevalent among women than men at every age, but even more so post-menopause. It can be a result of injury or a medical condition, but if doctors can’t identify the cause, it’s known as ‘non-specific’. Treatment is exercises, painkillers, heat and ice packs, manual therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sometimes surgery.
Fibromyalgia Causes pain, brain fog, tiredness, stiffness, sleep trouble, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s thought to be linked to how the nervous system processes pain, and can be triggered by a stressful event. It affects around seven times as many women as men, and usually develops between age 30 and 50. Medication, CBT, exercise and relaxation can relieve symptoms.
Painful bladder syndrome Affects one in 50 women. It results in pain in the bladder and pelvic region, as well as the urge to pee more often and pain during sex. The cause is unknown, but it’s thought to be a defect in bladder tissue, nerve changes or an allergic reaction. Diet and medication can help.
Osteoarthritis The most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting over eight million people. It makes joints painful, stiff and sometimes swollen. It can’t be cured, but can be improved with exercise, weight loss, drugs and physiotherapy. Endometriosis Affects one in 10 UK women. Cells like the ones in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body, causing pain and discomfort when going to the toilet and during sex.
Treatments can relieve discomfort and slow cell growth.
Chronic fatigue syndrome Tends to develop between 25 and 45. It causes extreme tiredness, pain, sore throat, brain fog, flu-like symptoms and dizziness. Treatments include CBT, exercise and medication. It is thought to be triggered by infection, immunity problems, hormone imbalance, genes or mental-health problems.