Development of a new National Women’s Health Policy Consultation Discussion Paper 2009

5.1.1 Sexual and reproductive health

Page last updated: 20 April 2009

Conditions relating to women's sexual and reproductive health, which only women experience, or in the case of chlamydia, which can have a more serious impact on women, include:

  • Antenatal and postnatal depression affects an estimated 15 per cent of Australian women during pregnancy and early parenthood.59
  • Cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates have declined by 48 per cent and 53 per cent respectively since the National Cervical Screening Program was introduced in 1991,60however, these rates remain significantly higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.61
  • Chlamydia the most frequently reported sexually transmitted infection, which can lead to infertility. The National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System shows that the number of reported female cases has more than tripled between 2000 (10,109 female cases) to 2008 (34,761 female cases).62
  • Endometriosis63 affects an estimated one in ten females of reproductive age and up to 30 per cent of women with infertility. It has no known cure and on average takes 7 to 12 years to diagnose.
  • Gestational diabetes diagnosed in 5-12 per cent of pregnant women, who then have a 50 per cent risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within five years, and is lifestyle related.64
  • Menopause symptoms changed periods, hot flushes, depression and sleeping difficulties can significantly impact on women's lives. The menopause brings about shifts in weight distribution to the abdomen associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.65
  • Ovarian cancer more than 1,200 new cases of ovarian cancer in Australian women were diagnosed in 200566 and 60 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 19982004 died within five years of diagnosis.67
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome up to 10 per cent of women and 30 per cent of obese women68 have this condition, which is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease69and mental health issues.70