Common problems

The problems you may experience during this phase of your life depend largely on your own medical history, on the genetic makeup of your family and on your choice of lifestyle. If one, or both your parents have high blood pressure or have had cancer, you should be on the lookout.

However, if you smoke forty cigarettes a day, you cannot expect to have no respiratory problems just because your parents are OK. Lifestyle choices play an enormous part in your state of health.

During this time, common problems include hormonal problems (such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and endometriosis) stress-related diseases (such as skin rashes), fertility problems, problems surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, sexual problems, problems regarding physical or emotional abuse, STDs (depending on your sexual choices), depression and the possible manifestation of psychiatric disorders, onset of Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and substance abuse problems.

Many women also gain weight during and after pregnancy, which they sometimes have difficulty shaking off.

Many of these problems can of course manifest during your teens or after your forties, but they are more likely to manifest during this phase of your life.

Hormonal problems can be dealt with and should be diagnosed as early as possible. Stress-related diseases may require both therapy and medication, as would depression. It is very important during this time of your life to have regular gynaecological and general medical checkups.

Many women are under so much pressure to look after others during this phase of their lives, that they neglect their own health. It is important to deal with stress in the proper way, otherwise it is very tempting to self-'medicate' stress by means of alcohol, drugs or nicotine.

But, this stage of your life is, fortunately, not only made up of problems. It is during this time in your life you will probably experience meaningful emotional and sexual relationships, major lifestyle changes, financial independence, career rewards, the ups and downs of motherhood and many other exciting things.

(Liesel Powell, Health24, July 2003)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24