Women's health has been disregarded and misunderstood throughout history, having little to no official representation. In fact, up until 1993, women were excluded from clinical research and trials, a point that has had a grave, sustained impact on women's health today.
Now that more women have joined the medical community, the gender disparity in research has narrowed. We have access to information far more accurate than the old wives' tales our grandmothers relied on. However, that's not nearly enough because this information isn't common knowledge. Nova Benefits hosted a wellness session on women's health with Dr Deepa Nambiar to create awareness around the health problems women encounter and what can we do to prevent them. Based on this session, here’s a checklist to help ensure your wellbeing.
✅ A Healthy Menstrual Cycle
While many still consider talking about it to be something of a taboo, periods are an essential part of reproductive health and must be openly discussed. It's important to be mindful of symptoms like irregularity, spotting, excess cramping, and prolonged periods, as these can be the symptoms of a far bigger problem. The Health risks associated with period disturbances are several, including heart risks due to a drop in oestrogen levels, osteoporosis and urinary tract infection. You must visit your OBG-YN if these symptoms persist past one cycle.
✅ Cancer Awareness & Detection
Four types of cancer predominantly affect women: cervical, breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. Getting vaccinated against cervical cancer is the best strategy, and the HPV vaccine is available at your general practitioner's office. For breast cancer, perform monthly self-examinations to check for lumps, dimples, or other symmetry and colour distortions.
Early detection of cancer increases the chance of successfully treating it, so you must schedule annual screening tests, especially if there is a family history.
✅ Sexual Health
The foundations of sexual healthcare are based on preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, good pelvic health and pleasure. It's essential to have an honest, open conversation with your partner about their sexual history, STD testing and shared desires. Vaccinations for STDs are recommended as soon as possible. To avoid pregnancy, you can explore different contraceptive options with your gynaecologist and choose one that best serves your needs. As for pelvic health, practice kegel exercises regularly to strengthen the pelvic muscles. This is especially important if you're pregnant, as these exercises will lower the chance of experiencing incontinence after having the baby.
✅ Hormonal Disorders Awareness & Prevention
The way to prevent hormonal disorders is to thoroughly examine your family history to estimate your risk of developing a disease. Schedule regular appointments with your doctor, and get yourself tested annually. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by being mindful of what you eat, accompanied by regular exercise.
PCOD: A disorder that causes ovaries to enlarge and develop small cysts on the outer edges. The symptoms associated with it are hair loss, irregular periods, acne and excess facial hair. These symptoms must not be ignored., If left untreated, PCOD can lead to infertility and diabetes.
Thyroid: A medical condition where the thyroid gland does not make the required amount of hormones. Over 10% of Indian women suffer from hypothyroidism caused by the underproduction of the thyroxin hormone. The symptoms of this disease are dry skin, weight gain, puffy face, and irregular periods.
Endometriosis: A disorder in which the tissue that usually lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. Over 25 million Indian women have endometriosis, symptoms of which include painful periods, pain during sexual intercourse, excessive bleeding and fatigue. It can lead to a frozen pelvis if not treated on time.Liked what you read? And would like to know more about living a happier and healthier life?
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