International Women’s Day: Eight Common Women’s Health Problems You Should Know About
Women, while wearing many hats and juggling many roles and responsibilities, often forget to take care of their health. Women’s Day reminds them every year that they must put their health and well-being first, before doing anything else. On this occasion, Dr Deepthi Ashwin, Obstetrician and Senior Gynecologist at Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru, talks about some important health issues women should be aware of.
Here are eight most common conditions; read on.
* Endometriosis: It happens when the glands that line the uterus grow outside, on the ovaries, bladder, rectum. It causes painful and / or heavy periods, pain during intercourse, infertility. Treatment can be medical or surgical.
* Fibroids: These are the most common non-cancerous tumors in pregnant women. This can cause a heavy and / or painful period, infertility, pregnancy complications such as miscarriages or early labor. They develop at a very slow rate. Not all fibroids warrant treatment.
* Vaginal infections and STIs: These occur due to various causes such as bacteria (bacterial vaginosis, chlamydial infections, gonorrhea), fungi (candidiasis), parasites (trichomoniasis), viruses (HPV, HSV). A simple examination by your doctor can diagnose most infections and appropriate treatment can be started. It is essential to treat these infections early to avoid complications.
* Urinary tract infections: They are more common in women. They can lead to increased frequency of urination, burning urination, urgency. In more severe cases, they can cause blood in the urine, pain in the lower abdomen and fever. Urine culture and sensitivity should be done to learn about the causative organism and the appropriate antibiotics needed to treat it. You need to get plenty of fluids, and a urine alkalizer may be needed in some cases.
* Pregnancy problems: Diabetes, hypertension, preterm labor, miscarriage. Late conception now increases medical illnesses complicating pregnancy.
* Polycystic ovary syndrome: Occurs when there is an overproduction of male hormones. The ovaries can contain several small cysts. It can cause irregular cycles, decreased flow during cycles, weight gain, abnormal hair growth on the face and chest. Keeping your weight under control is important to suppress hormones.
* Menopause problems: Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, prolapse, urinary incontinence, osteoporosis. It is important for postmenopausal women to eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly.
* Cancer: Two of the most common cancers in women are breast and cervical cancer.
Breast cancer can cause lumps in the breast, dimpling of the skin of the breast, retraction of the nipples, or discharge from the nipples (except milky). Early diagnosis improves outcomes in women. It is important that women know breast self-examination for early detection. Breast ultrasound and mammograms can detect cases at an early stage.
Cancer of the cervix is the second most common cancer in women. Symptoms include bleeding between periods or after sex, a foul-smelling discharge. It is essential that all sexually active women have regular Pap smears to detect them early. Receiving HPV vaccines can prevent HPV infections and reduce the risk of cervical cancer.