Gallstones are the most common and costly digestive disease in the United States, causing more than 800,000 hospitalizations annually at estimated cost of over five billion dollars. More than 20 million Americans have gallstones and approximately one million new cases are diagnosed each year. Women are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones; the higher prevalence of gallstones in women is thought to be caused by multiple pregnancies, obesity, and rapid weight loss.
Gallstones form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. The liquid, called bile, is used to help the body digest fats. Bile is made in the liver, then stored in the gallbladder until the body needs to digest fat.
As women, we are often reminded about our special need for iron, and so iron overload may seem like the last potential we need to consider. For most of us, it is. Many women consume iron supplements to bridge the gap with no issues. However, for more than 1 million Americans, iron supplementation can have devastating consequences.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs, similar to blisters, that are common among women during their reproductive years. They form on the ovaries, the almond-sized organs on each side of the uterus. Most types of ovarian cysts are harmless and go away without any treatment.