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Five health concerns and risks that women must discuss with their gynecologist

Stop overlooking symptoms that can be better tackled if addressed early.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 18, 2022 8:50:11 pm
women health, health concerns for women, female health, reproductive health, what should women discuss with their gynecologists, health, female health, indian express newsVaginal infections can present as altered discharge from the vagina, menstrual symptoms like dysmenorrhea. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

After a certain point in life, women ought to become aware of their bodies and seek professional support from time to time to make sure they are healthy. Preventive and self-screenings are better than going for treatments later. As such, doctors suggest they stop overlooking symptoms that can be better tackled if addressed early.

Dr Neha Bothara, consultant-obstetrics and gynaecology, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi — a Fortis Network Hospital — lists a few illnesses that women need to be cautious about; read on.

Chronic vaginal infections: Women of all ages, from puberty to menopause or even later, can suffer from vaginal infections. These can be bacterial, fungal, viral or of other causes. But they are neglected until they become severe and unbearable. Vaginal infections can present as altered discharge from the vagina, menstrual symptoms like dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), itching or even urinary tract-related symptoms. Like all infections, these are best treated early, else they can progress to other more severe reproductive tract infections.

Sexual health: Women’s sexual health is often a taboo subject. They do not feel comfortable addressing the difficulties they may be facing in the bedroom. Vaginismus (severe vaginal pain and discomfort during penetration) is far more common. Deep pelvic pain during intercourse could be the only sign of endometriosis in some patients. Sexual health is an indicator of mental well-being, too. All facets of sexual health must be understood and discussed with your gynaecologist.

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Pelvic floor health: The pelvic floor is made up of eight different muscles that form a strong base for the reproductive organs, bowels and the urinary bladder to lie over. Vaginal protrusion, vaginal laxity, difficulty in urinary control, involuntary urinary passage and difficulty in passing stools are only some of the symptoms of pelvic floor muscle weakness. It is usually the result of childbirth or old age but can be present in anyone. Treatments range from physiotherapy to surgery. But these conditions are inherently progressive in nature and the sooner the treatment starts the better the results will be. Preventive therapy for strengthening pelvic floor muscles is rewarding.

Bone health: Women, in general, are predisposed to osteoporosis or weak bones. Frail, thin, lean women are more susceptible to low bone density and fractures. This risk increases after menopause when estrogen is gradually lost. Stress fractures of the spine, pelvis and long bones are more common after menopause. Regular calcium intake, vitamin D supplementation and weight bearing exercises to strengthen bones and muscles are important for preventing osteoporosis.

Cancer risk and prevention: Breast, ovarian and some uterine cancers can have a hereditary component. Detailed evaluation of hereditary risk of these cancers must be assessed. Also, other cancers like cancer of the cervix, though not inherited from one’s parents, are greatly preventable and amenable to screening programs. Preventive vaccines, regular pap-smear screening, regular mammograms, self-breast-examinations are some of the approaches by which a doctor can help guide you through for early detection.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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