Population Outcome: Women in Suffolk and North East Essex have Good Health
The best possible mental and physical health for women and gender and sexual minorities is essential if everyone in Suffolk and North East Essex is to live well. Understanding and tackling their specific needs and the barriers they face to health and care is vital in ensuring they have the best health outcomes.
Healthy Life Expectancy Data
The Story Behind the Outcome
Women's health - misdiagnosis
Need for menopause research
Good menopause care
Prioritising menopause in the NHS
Women's Health Issues
82.7% 12-13 year old girls in Essex and 41.7% in Suffolk have had one dose of HPV vaccine, and 77.3% in Essex and 51.5% in Suffolk have received two doses (2020/21)
There are 15 million woman who of menstrual age in the UK, and around 250,000 in SNEE – A woman will menstruate for an equivalent duration of 6.5 years of her life.
Period poverty – one in ten of all women, and 15% of 16 – 24-year-olds, say they cannot always afford tampons or pads.
more than 1 in 5 women in a relationship feel uncomfortable talking to their partner about period pain (22%), PMT (23%) or their period flow (25%)
Fibroids – Around 1 in 3 people who menstruate develop them at some point in their life.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – affects around 1 in 10 women and is the most common cause of infertility in women.
Endometriosis – 1 in 10 women are affected by endometriosis
Screening cover – 73% Suffolk, 61.5% Essex – Only 50% in Colchester, significantly lower than England (64.1%)
Both Essex and Suffolk better than England average for cervical screening (73.5% and 73.8% respectively)
Every woman – except for those who’ve had their ovaries removed before puberty – will go through menopause. There are almost 82,000 women aged 45-55 in SNEE
Urogenital atrophy affects up to 1 in 3 women, most often during or after menopause, when the cells in the vagina are most lacking in hydration and cervix lubrication decreases – it is estimated that almost half of post-menopausal women experience vaginal atrophy.
Around one in ten people will suffer from the condition in some form. Anyone can get osteoporosis but women are about four times more likely than men to develop it
Risk factor for fractures – 1,414 hip fractures treated in SNEE hospitals 2021
women (19%) are more likely than men to report an experience of common mental health condition – women 19%, men 12%
Over a quarter (26%) of young women aged between 16–24 years old report having a common mental health problem in any given week. This compares to 17% of adults. And this number has been going up
Women are more likely to use self-harm as a coping strategy then men
The Women’s Mental Health Taskforce report in 2018 highlighted a range of issues including:
Women who are parents or carers do not always have the right mental health support:
- Post-partum – less specific provision for women with older children, women who are immediately beyond the perinatal period, and women without children.
- Crisis – Many did not seek help until in crisis due to fear of being judged or having their children removed.
- Those separated from their children – little support to cope with their grief or to maintain contact.
- Carers – role is not recognised sufficiently by mental health services.
Impact of gender-based violence is not sufficiently recognised by mental health services:
- Over half of women who have lived with physical or sexual violence have a common mental disorder; a third have attempted suicide.
- PTSD is higher in black women: they experience higher rates of sexual assaults that they but are less likely to report or seek help for assaults or trauma.
- Complex PTSD can be misdiagnosed as other conditions, leading to the wrong treatments or associated stigmas.
- Women needing refuge may be turned away due to their physical health, mental health or substance misuse needs.
Impact of violence
One in five women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16
Lower rate of hospital admissions for violent crime (including sexual violence) than England (41.9 per 100,000). Tendring at 31.5 per 100,000 and Ipswich at 31.4 per 100,000 are highest in SNEE
Coercive control or pressure is used much more frequently by partners than physical force, as 16% of girls having been raped using pressure and coercion and 6% have been raped using physical force
- High quality information:
o8% of respondents felt that they had access to enough information on gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis and fibroids
o 17% of respondents felt that they had enough information on menstrual wellbeing
o14% of respondents felt they had enough information on gynaecological cancers, dropping to 5% of respondents aged 16 to 17, and 7% of respondents aged 18 to 25.
- To be listened to – it can take months or years to get a diagnosis.
- Their symptoms to be recognised as important – for example women are told that their painful or heavy periods, or incontinence after childbirth are normal and to be accepted.
- Not to be stigmatised – period stigma can impact on participation in education or work, and period poverty impacts on mental wellbeing and dignity.
- Research Showed that over 4 in 5 women (85%) feel, or are perceived to feel, comfortable talking to healthcare professionals about general physical health concerns. This falls to less than 3 in 5 women when discussing mental health conditions (59%).
- the proportion of women who felt (or were perceived to) feel comfortable talking to professionals was:
- 77% for menstrual wellbeing
- 72% for gynaecological cancers
- 71% for gynaecological conditions
- 64% for the menopause
- More than 4 in 5 (84%) went on to say there have been times when they (or the woman they had in mind) were not listened to by healthcare professionals.
References & Further Reading
What we know matters and why
|I can keep well||Convenient access to screening and testing for women’s health conditions and cancers enables me to be diagnosed and treated early.|
Tackling period poverty enables me to be safe, comfortable and confident in education, in work and socially.
|I have access to high quality care||A trauma informed approach means recognising the impact of my life experiences and tailoring support to my needs.|
Supporting me to communicate my symptoms and experiences, means my needs are identified and I am given the right treatment and care.
Flexible care that recognises my gender and sexual identity means I receive the right care, without stereotypes or discrimination.
Care that incorporates my parental and caring responsibilities means I can continue in my role and maintain my closest relationships.
|I have information on women’s health to live well||Access to information and guidance on puberty, gynaecological health, becoming a parent, menopause, and age-related conditions, means I can identify problems early and obtain the right support.|
|I am treated as an individual||Treating me and my family with dignity and respect, recognising my culture, characteristics and life circumstances, means my care and support is inclusive, sensitive and responsive to my needs.|
|I am seen and heard||Understanding and tackling gender bias in healthcare means I am confident of listened to and am diagnosed and treated accurately first time.|
How will things be different in Suffolk and North East Essex
|We will co-produce information to health and care services, schools, workplaces, and community settings on girls’ and women’s health issues at all stages of life,and making reasonable adjustments.||We will co-produce health and care services that meet the specific needs of women and gender and sexual minorities.|
|We will co-produce access to screening and testing that accommodates women’s work and caring responsibilities.||We will review existing health and care services to identify and tackle gender inequalities, including women with other characteristics and living with deprivation and disadvantage.|
|We will ensure health and care staff understand gender and sexual biases, so that care for women and diverse gender identities is sensitive and non-discriminatory.||We will offer access to a range of mental health support, reducing reliance on medication where safe and appropriate.|