Secret bottles in the medicine cabinet? Frequent trips to the bathroom? Moodiness, fatigue or changes in social behavior?

Everyone has secrets — that’s no surprise. But, whether little or big, secrets can make a real difference in quality of life. When it comes to women keeping their health issues to themselves, the effects can be unnecessary, turning something potentially treatable into a misery to live with. By speaking up about those secret health issues, women can make their lives much more comfortable and enjoyable.

Health is a highly personal subject by nature, but there are experiences that almost all women share. Discussing what you’re going through, or even what you don’t understand, with friends, family and, most importantly, your doctor can lead to greater understanding and better treatment solutions. Within families, it’s particularly important for women to talk about their health, as many issues are genetic and carry over from generation to generation.

Some of the health secrets women keep and ways to bring them out of hiding:

Heavy periods: More than 10 million women suffer — usually in silence — from heavy periods convinced that changing their pad or tampon more than five times a day is normal because it is something they have learned to live with. While not life threatening, many women are unaware of the latest safe, effective and minimally invasive treatment options available to them. Novasure is one such procedure, featured on the popular daytime TV show “The Doctors” in 2009. The makers of Novasure recently created an online resource for women who suffer from heavy periods, The site was established as a place where women can share their stories and learn about the different options they have for their heavy periods in the comfort of a girlfriend-to-girlfriend online community. Heavy periods can occur at various stages of your life, and procedures like Novasure are best for women who have decided against having any or anymore children. Be sure to speak with your health care professional, as heavy periods could be a sign of other health concerns. (See more about Novasure from “The Doctors” on YouTube:

Adult acne: Nearly 30 percent of women are troubled by breakouts well into adulthood. Adult acne is caused by hypersensitivity or overproduction of hormones and can happen during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. Too often, women try to treat adult acne like the teen kind and wait to see a doctor for their skin problems. If you have basic acne, treatments with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide should help, but for serious acne, a dermatologist has an arsenal of products to clear up your skin.

Bladder leakage: Though bladder issues are common, the majority of people who suffer do so in secret. Approximately 13 million Americans, the majority of whom are women, have bladder issues. These bladder problems in women may be due to childbirth or a natural part of aging. However, these issues effect women of all ages and in most cases, are easily treatable. It may include therapy, behavioral and diet modifications, medicines and in some cases, surgery.

Vaginal dryness: Hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats. Those are the menopause symptoms we talk about. But, what about the ones we don’t talk about including painful sex? More than 50 million women are in menopause and more than half of them have vaginal atrophy — a chronic and progressive condition characterized by symptoms including vaginal dryness and pain during sex. Whether it’s lack of awareness or lack of empowerment, women don’t tell their doctor, though simple over-the-counter treatments are available.

If you experience any of these health issues listed above, please feel free to speak with your doctor. They will listen with an understanding ear and suggest the best treatment plan for you. : :