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Women's health problems are often ignored due to entrenched bias - internalised as well by women. Let's ignore no longer!
Women and men share many similar health problems, but women face distinct health issues too, which are often ignored. Women’s health problems that need our attention.
Blame it on our changing lifestyle if you will, longer life spans, heightened stress levels or dwindling immunity, women’s health problems need more attention than we give them. In the race to be superwoman and manage work, home, family, friendships, hobbies…we often end up neglecting ourselves and regular health checks.
Here are 4 common women’s health problems we all should be cognizant about.
One of the top women’s health problems to be reckoned with is breast cancer. According to oncologists, about 4 out of 5 breast cancer patients in India are already at an advanced stage by the time of their visit to the hospital.
Statistics shows that urban women are at much higher risk than rural women. Lack of exercise regime, junk food, increased tobacco and alcohol intake coupled with some lifestyle changes are just some of the causes that have been cited for breast cancer, although – it is important to note that in many cases, no single cause can really be specified. Heredity plays an important role too.
A lump or mass in the breast and discharge from the nipples are the alarming signs that you should look out for. Timely check-ups could help detect breast cancer faster, and make a cure much more likely.
If the scare of breast cancer is not enough, cervical cancer risks comes next to give a heavy blow. It is known to beat breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer related deaths among Indian women. This cancer is known to occur because of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is transmitted through sexual contact.
Poor hygiene, too many children in too short a time, low nutrition levels etc. contribute to the risk factors. Again, early detection of cervical cancer can definitely boost the likelihood of recovery.
Polycystic ovary disease is yet another issue that causes female endocrine disorders thus affecting many women of reproductive age. PCOS is a condition in which there are numerous small cysts in the ovaries that threaten to affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant.
The foremost symptom of a woman acquiring PCOS is irregular or no periods. Others symptoms can be acne, hair loss, infertility, obesity etc. Again, timely regular health check-ups can prevent this from increasing. Among women’s health problems, this is probably one of the most common ones.
9 out of 10 Indian women are known to suffer from anaemia. With the increasing demands of family, career, and other domestic chores, many women feel tired almost always.
Apart from this lingering feeling of tiredness, other signs of anaemia include irritability, vitamin and folic deficiency (due to poor diet plan), pale skin, and brittle nails – all these means that your blood lacks enough red blood cells(RBC). Now, low RBC means reduced oxygen supply in blood thus making you feel exhausted all day.
As fish is to water, osteoporosis is synonymous with women. Women require certain vital nutrients like calcium, iron, and folic acid during various stages in their life especially before and after pregnancy. Moreover, Vitamin D deficiency caused by low exposure to sun also causes osteoporosis among women.
Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis include certain lifestyle changes like no smoking and drinking, regular exercise, and most importantly having a calcium plus Vitamin D-rich food.
These women’s health problems often get second class treatment, partly because of bias in research that treats men as the norm, and partly because of entrenched social norms that lead women to dismiss their own health as well.
It’s time we paid closer attention!
Image of woman via Shutterstock
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
No law in the country recognises enabling the rapist to walk free after marrying the survivor. However, in reality, it is something that families and communities often push for.
In the same week where the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, 11 May, saw a split decision on the constitutionality of the marital rape exception, another equally reactionary decision was handed by a divisional bench of the Supreme Court when they set aside the conviction and sentence of a man who had repeatedly raped his 14 year old niece
The facts of the case are simple. The accused, K Dhandapani, enticed his 14 year old niece with the promise of marriage and raped her several times. The family came to know of the offence when the girl became pregnant, and a case was lodged against him under the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. After trying his case, in 2018, the Sessions Court found him guilty on all three counts, and convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. The accused appealed to the Madras High Court which upheld the conviction and the sentence in 2019.
The girl gave birth in 2017, before the case came up in court. Despite the pending case against him, he continued to have sexual relations with the girl, and she gave birth to her second child at the age of 17.