While everyone can have difficulty feeling their best during the cold winter months, it can be especially challenging for women. They face numerous challenges from factors, including their typical nurturing role and health conditions that are made worse by the cold. Pre-existing medical conditions can also be exasperated, and the present cost-of-living crisis is seeing women taking on second jobs and side gigs to fill the gap.
How Winter Impacts Women’s Health And How To Address It
There is a range of reasons that women experience greater health concerns during winter. Among them are:
- Certain Women’s Health Issues Are Exasperated By Cold – Asthma, migraines, eczema, arthritis, and even menstruation can become more challenging to manage during winter. Women are suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder more often. This condition is due to the shorter, darker winter days. Evidence suggests that women experiencing chronic pain have more difficulty getting proper pain management. This is especially troubling as chronic pain symptoms also tend to be more severe in winter.
- Women Are More Often Caretakers – Women commonly look after elderly relatives or sick children. This puts them under greater stress while exposing them to diseases, including the flu, COVID-19, and other winter viruses.
- Women Take Less Time Off – Both from traditional work and housework, women rarely take a day off. This leaves them feeling exhausted, overworked, and stressed. All of these behavioral factors can contribute to a suppressed immune system that makes sickness more common. Further, they can also contribute to the experienced severity of symptoms and conditions.
While eczema can impact sufferers at any time of year, it tends to be notably worse during the winter. This is especially true for women who are more likely to be impacted by certain types of eczema, such as atopic dermatitis. Those who experience flare-ups of this condition must maintain their temperature and moisturize regularly. Opting for cotton clothing can also help prevent outbreaks, as can avoiding hot showers.
Winter depression is a complicated condition that can be every bit as serious as traditional forms of depression. It can lead to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue. Further, sufferers may eat and sleep more. One effective treatment for this is in the form of a special full-spectrum light. Exposure to this for a few hours a day can help ease the symptoms.
Asthma is another condition that women are more prone to, and that winter can make it more difficult to manage. Nearly 10% of all women live with asthma, as opposed to 6% of men. The cold, dry air of winter can make symptoms worse, and flare-ups happen more often. Breathing through the nose, staying warm, and avoiding getting the flu or cold can help ease the difficulty of living with asthma during winter.
Have Other Winter Health Concerns? Speak To Your Women’s Health Provider
If you want help preparing for the winter ahead, reach out to your women’s health provider. They’ll have the latest information on women’s health concerns that are aggravated by the winter cold. They’ll point you to resources to help you prepare and provide you with valuable information on managing your symptoms through the season.