Women’s Health spotlight: An expert’s take on top health issues women face


  • May is Women’s Health Month, focusing on health issues such as perimenopause, menopause and other common health challenges.
  • We’ve pulled together some of our best blog posts and talked to a health leader at Swedish to give you easy access to relevant information that can help improve your wellness.
  • A health expert at Swedish offers insights into some of the top health issues facing women today.

Hot flashes and hormones are probably not the first things most people think of when they imagine the lives of famous people like Oprah or Drew Barrymore. But, according to a recent conversation on Oprah Daily’s “The Life You Want,” the two celebrities discussed regularly experiencing the same symptoms and misdiagnosis as many patients going through perimenopause or menopause. And they think it’s time we all started talking more openly about what that means.

Experts at Swedish say they couldn’t agree more.

“Every woman is different, but every woman has the right to quality health care that helps her feel her best. Taking the time to meet with your provider and discuss questions and concerns can not only help with current symptoms but can also help to set you up for a healthier future,” says Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Kathleen Rosenthal, ARNP.

May is Women’s Health Care Month, which focuses on prevention and making self-care a priority to improve your overall wellness.  To make getting the information you need more convenient and save you time, we’ve gathered some of our past articles in one spot.

Perimenopause and menopause, myths vs. reality

Perimenopause is the time during which your body makes the transition into menopause and stops having periods (menstruation). Both are normal, healthy stages of life for many people. But that doesn’t keep them from being challenging to navigate at times.

It’s no secret that myths and misconceptions about perimenopause and menopause are all-too-easy to find. Perimenopause and menopause: myths, reality and how to cope can help you separate fact from fiction.

“The stigma around menopause can cause anxiety and confusion, particularly as this is an area that hasn't always been well addressed by health providers in the past. One of the challenges is that perimenopause can look very different from person to person. Some have hot flashes and night sweats and some have sudden changes in their periods or moods and emotions. However, in addition to the post above, there are many different resources available to help you navigate this transition,” says Kathleen. 

Care for every phase of life

Each stage of life has its own unique health issues, and your health care should reflect your changing needs and priorities. Women’s health: Changes for every phase of life walks you through the stages from puberty through post-menopause and looks at the care that’s available along the way.

“There isn't always a clear time to meet with an OBGYN, but a great opportunity to take that step is when a woman, whatever age, has questions specifically about women's health,” says Kathleen. “Some teenagers aren't comfortable talking about periods or birth control with their families or pediatricians, and some women need help sorting through the information shared by friends and family – whether that be about their fertility journey, routine screening for cervical or breast cancer or perimenopausal symptoms.”

“My goal is that the patients that I work with always feel as though our clinic is a safe space to address concerns and leave feeling empowered,” she adds.

Fitness tips from a pro athlete

“Moving your body is one of the best things that you can do for your overall health, both physical and mental! The beauty of this is that exercise and activity can come in many different forms,” says Kathleen. “We're lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest where there are many beautiful and accessible options to get outside and find an outlet that excites you. Prioritizing mental fitness is just as important – whether that be through recreation, or through practices like meditation and mindfulness.”

If you’re looking for inspiration to kick start your fitness efforts, For Women's Health Week, fitness tips from a pro athlete is a great place to start. Learn what Ultimate Frisbee player Sharon Tsao, a player for the Swedish-sponsored Seattle Tempest, does to maintain an active lifestyle and why she feels mental health and physical health should take a top spot on everyone’s to-do list.

Early menopause and heart disease

“It isn't well known that heart disease is the most common cause of death for women in the United States,” says Kathleen. “Women, particularly those who are at higher risk for heart related problems due to family history or other health conditions, should discuss preventative measures early with their provider.”

“Gynecologists can be an important member of the team for women who enter menopause early, as they should likely discuss the role of menopausal hormone therapy in their care plan,” she adds.

A recent study found that people who go through menopause before they turn 40 may be at increased risk of heart disease. Can early menopause raise the risk of heart problems? Swedish experts weigh in outlines the study’s findings and explain what the results could mean for your health.

Learn more and find a provider

Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction, and follow up as needed. If you need to find a provider, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Related resources 

It's not all in your head. A Swedish expert on the causes, symptoms and treatment of endometriosis

A dose of hope for Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Raising awareness of health disparities that affect LGBT communities

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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About the Author

Whether you are seeking gynecological advice, need help navigating your way through the menopause stage of life or researching a recent breast cancer diagnosis, the Swedish Women's Health Team is committed to helping women find the information they need to live happy and healthy lives.

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