Women’s Health is an important branch of medicine specifically focused on the physical and emotional needs that affect a woman’s overall health.

While many men and women can experience the same illness or condition, they can be presented differently and require different treatment in women.

Along with reproductive health and pregnancy services, Cook County Health offers comprehensive care for every aspect of women’s health and overall wellness, including the conditions women are most at risk to develop.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.

However, heart disease may present itself differently in women than in men and the signs of a heart attack in women are subtler and less recognizable than in men.

According to the American Heart Association, women can experience chest pain, but many women never have those symptoms. Many symptoms, like shortness of breath, pain in abdomen, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, or dizziness and fainting, can mimic the flu or even acid reflux.

  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Pain in arms, neck, jaw, stomach, lower chest or abdomen
  • Pressure, fullness or pain in your chest. This can last more than a few minutes or repeatedly 
  • Shortness of breath 

A woman’s risk of heart disease increases once they start menopause. During menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. This loss of estrogen is thought to be a major factor in why women have a greater risk of developing heart disease since it can increase blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Eat a healthy diet with low sodium, saturated fat and sugar
  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of rigorous activity per week
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Quit smoking

Gynecology

A gynecologist provides the diagnosis and management of the reproductive system and disorders that may affect your reproductive health.
Many women begin seeing a gynecologist during their teenage years and are recommended to have annual check-ups. The Cook County Health team provides general gynecology services, including care for menstruation and menopause, reproductive endocrinology and hormone care, infertility services, gynecologic cancer treatment and family planning.

Pregnancy

Cook County Health provides complete care for pregnant women from early symptoms through postpartum.

Cook County Health specializes in general services, as well as maternal fetal medicine, or high-risk health concerns for the mom and fetus. John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County is a Level III Regional Perinatal Center and provides the highest level of care to pregnant women and their newborns.

The labor and delivery facilities offer private Labor & Deliver rooms with modern technological advances. Our commitment to women’s health is long-standing, and our broad range of expertise allows us to provide care for patients at every stage of their pregnancy and after. You can rely on us for care after the baby is born so you recover quickly and feel confident in your new role as a mother.

  • Advanced diagnostic ultrasound evaluations
  • Chorionic villus sampling
  • Fetal cardiac ultrasound
  • Fetal heart rate monitoring
  • Genetic screening and testing
  • Labor & Delivery
  • Medically complicated mothers or pregnancies
  • Ongoing care for mothers
  • Percutaneous umbilical cord sampling
  • Pregnancy complications: morning sickness, heartburn, leg and back pain, gestational diabetes
  • Routine checks

Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated eight million American women develop osteoporosis.

While younger women can develop osteoporosis, in most cases women develop osteoporosis as they age and reach menopause. This is because during menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen which protects the bones. Additionally, women also live longer than men, meaning their bones gradually weaken as they age.

Osteoporosis can be genetic, and many women do not know they have it until they fracture a bone. Women 65 and older, as well as high-risk women, are recommended to have a bone density test to determine if you have any bone loss. Speak with your doctor if you are under the age of 65 and think you should have a bone density test. Osteoporosis is generally treated with medication that either prevents bone loss or builds bone strength.

  • Eat a diet high in calcium and vitamin D
  • Exercise regularly and stay active
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Quit smoking

Mental Health

According to the Office on Women’s Health, 1 in 5 women are likely to experience a type of mental health condition.

Depression

Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. Depression is more than feeling unhappy.
Intense feelings of sadness and other symptoms, like losing interest in things you enjoy, may be signs of depression. While treatable, depression can be caused by family history, drug use, serious illness or a major life change.

Symptoms can vary from person to person. See a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Eating too much or too little
  • Feelings of intense guilt, anger or sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Pain and headaches
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Thoughts of suicide
Women can experience depression during any time of their lives. However, changes in hormones during menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum and perimenopause have been linked to depression in women. Talking to your doctor and seeking treatment can help treat your depression.
If you have experienced suicidal thoughts, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Someone is there to help.​

Cancers Affecting Women

Women can be affected by many types of cancer, but it is important to know about the cancers that most commonly impact women.

Locations
Women and Children’s Center

John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County

1969 W. Odgen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 864-6000

Provident Hospital of Cook County

500 E. 51st St.
Chicago, IL 60615
(312) 572-2000

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