[5 min read] Most common women’s health issues in Australia

Did you know that half of all Australian women is living with at least one of 10 common chronic conditions, and a tenth is living with three or more?1

Despite this, in a National Health Survey, 56.4 per cent of women said they would rate their health as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.2

Women do experience less of Australia’s burden of disease compared to men.1 However, they still face serious health problems.

The top 10 leading causes of women’s burden of disease are:1

  1. Cancer (17.2% of total burden)
  2. Musculoskeletal conditions (14.9% of total burden)
  3. Mental and substance use disorders (12.4% of total burden)
  4. Cardiovascular diseases (11.7% of total burden)
  5. Neurological conditions (8.9% of total burden)
  6. Respiratory diseases (8.2% of total burden)
  7. Injuries (5.7% of total burden)
  8. Gastrointestinal disorders (3.2% of total burden)
  9. Endocrine disorders (2.4% of total burden)
  10. Oral disorders (2.4% of total burden)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare identified that half of all women in Australia is living with at least one of 10 common chronic conditions, and a tenth is living with three or more.These chronic conditions include:

  • Mental and behavioural problems
  • Arthritis
  • Back issues
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease

But in 2018-19, more than 20 per cent of women waited longer than they should have to see a GP, and 10 per cent delayed getting (or didn’t get) their prescribed medicine due to cost.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that women are also more likely to postpone seeing a dentist.3

With the significant health issues faced by Australian women, it is essential that they have timely and effective access to primary care health services.

Learn more about women’s health in primary care with the Professional Diploma of Women’s Health program.


1 AIHW – The health of Australia’s females. (Updated December 2019.) Deaths in Australia. (Updated August 2020.)

2 ABS – 4364.0.55.001 – National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18. Published December 2018.
3 ABS – 839.0 – Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018-19. Published November 2019.

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