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A Decade Of Women’s Web Later, You Have To Know Women’s Health Isn’t JUST Pregnancies!

Posted: June 20, 2020

As Women’s Web celebrates ten years of incredible content, here are the top ten posts of Women’s Health in the last ten years! #ADecadeOfWomensWeb

I come from a family of doctors and to me, visiting doctors, for any reason is often like visiting family. But while looking for posts on Women’s Health for this article, I realised how easy I’ve had it! And also how vast an issue Women’s Health is. 

So while choosing these ten posts, I really had a tough time. I wanted to cover every possible issue and also every possible sweet story. In a decade of Women’s Web, we have had health related posts on absolutely everything.

Right from the fear and anxiety of the first pelvic exam to the use of menstrual cups to pregnancy tips and cravings to PCOS and the woes of UTIs. You think of it, and I am pretty sure we have it. 

And so, I set out on a task to give you one post from each of the above. These are posts, not necessarily penned down by doctors but are personal experiences and tips that helped women. And yet, I still haven’t even touched the surface of women’s health. 

While this merely covers the physical aspects of women and their health issues, we have a whole different article on women and mental health coming up soon.

So here are the Top Ten Women’s Health posts on Women’s Web!

Sandhya Renukamba

Watch Out! 6 Red Flags For Women’s Health

This post would’ve been incomplete without a mention of our (resident doctor and) Senior Editor Sandhya! Now, not all red flags are about relationships, some are about your own health too. And often, Indian women, are known to avoid their health by saying, ‘Oh it’s not a big deal!’ But it is!

Ignoring minor issues may lead to them becoming severe more serious ones. Your health matters too. And no matter how much of a ‘superwoman,’ you try to be, you are a human and you fall sick. There’s no shame in accepting that, is there?

A stomach ache is one of the commonest symptoms. It could be just indigestion. There is the accompanying inconvenience and discomfort, even pain, but you get better soon. If this occurs frequently, it could be irritable bowel syndrome; that just needs to be managed. So how do we know if it is something more serious needing attention?

A constant, nagging pain in the lower abdomen, with a yellowish-greenish vaginal discharge, painful urination and pain during intercourse could be pelvic inflammatory disease, due to infection, and a preventable/treatable cause of infertility.

Rashmi GS

Medical Tests For Women Of All Ages That We Need To Know Of

Do you remember, sometimes in schools you’d have these ‘medical check-up camps’? Now ask yourself honestly when was the last time you had a proper medical check up done. If you think you’re at the prime of your health and don’t need a check-up, think again. For like, Rashmi says, it is important to constantly monitor your health and keep track of it. 

As children, we have all taken vaccinations to protect ourselves from several diseases. Growing up, there aren’t as many jabs. However, it does become important to continuously monitor and keep track of our health.

Just like vaccines prevent diseases, medical tests diagnose and track your health. This in its turn helps you take the appropriate medical action in case of health alerts. It is especially important for women, often as the last people within families to prioritise themselves, to follow routine checkups and have updated health records.

Huda Shaikh

Befriend Your Vagina And Keep Her Healthy. Here’s How!

So, we’ve covered the bases with the medical tests, you know what to do and what not to. But are you friends with your vagina? Do you take care of her? 

Given how important your vagina is when it comes to not just sexual intercourse but even child-birth and preventing UTIs, she sure needs care! And with Huda’s handy (pun intended) guide, you have everything you need to know about taking care of the ‘down there’!

Douching can rob your vagina of the  the naturally occurring micro-flora thereby disturbing the pH. This sends an easy invitation to harmful bacteria so that they can cause infections. The vagina has a self-cleansing mechanism which is why washing it with water isn’t required. Gently wipe your vagina with a tissue and say no to douche.

It is always a good idea to give your vagina some space to breathe and rest. Therefore, avoid wearing underwear at night. This should be an exception for days when you are menstruating. (Let her breathe, people!)

Sowmya Rajendran

Using A Menstrual Cup: “What If There’s No Toilet?” And Other Questions You Always Wanted Answered

The past few years seem to be the ones that we’ve become extremely environmentally conscious of, thus, making menstrual cups good option. Often made of silicone, these cups are just the thing if you want to do your bit to the environment as well as your finances. 

And in her article Sowmya tells you everything you need to know about these. How to use them, how to wash them, where to find them, all your questions are answered right here. 

Because it’s bloody convenient. (I love it when there’s puns involved!) You don’t feel it at all inside the body. You don’t get rashes. You don’t need to visit the toilet every now and then. You don’t stain your clothes (unless the cup overfills). You can exercise comfortably. YOU CAN SLEEP WELL without that annoying wetness hounding you all night. It’s good for the environment. You leave behind less waste on the planet.

I’ve used the cup for over 2 years now and it’s amazing. I know many, many women who’ve made the switch and are all healthy with fully functioning vaginas. It’s more hygienic than a sanitary napkin which has exposed blood and contains chemicals. THE CUP IS SAFE. And you don’t feel like the Sahara down there after the cycle is over, unlike what you experience with pads.

Aruna Menon

There’s No Such Thing As ‘Normal’ Period Pain; Stop Shaming Women For Taking Medication

Let’s talk period pain, shall we? Just like the duration of periods differs from one person to another, the intensity of the pain does too. Some women don’t feel any pain and can go about their day like the girls on tampon and sanitary napkin ads. But there are others who can’t bear to move when the cramps hit them! So, they take medication to decrease the pain. Simple. 

While all this may seem hunky-dory, given the amount of period taboo in our country, young girls end up ‘suffering in silence.’ They can’t talk about their periods to their moms and neither can they talk to anyone else. So they stay and let the pain, literally take over their lives. 

Can pain ever be normal? Since time immemorial, mothers, sisters, teachers and even doctors have assured women that “it is normal” to have discomfort and even pain during periods. Worse still, girls and women are often discouraged to “resort” to painkillers or medications.

I often encounter mothers / women who seem to harbour the view that taking medication for period pain is harmful and even a sign of “weakness”. It is taken as a mark of tolerance and endurance to be able to avoid medication during periods.

Ranjana TN

A Planned PCOD Diet Can Help Alleviate A Condition That Almost 10% Of Women Suffer From

Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome/Disease (PCOS) affects one in ten women on an average and yet most of us are unaware of it! Women suffering from this have a range of issues to deal with right from irregular periods to intensely painful periods. 

Some of the treatments do include using birth control pills to regularise the periods and some other methods, one’s diet largely can help. Which is exactly what Ranjana wants you to know.

Diet is perhaps the single most important aspect of tackling PCOD. Diet is so inextricably linked with weight loss (and maintaining weight), managing blood sugar levels and overall well-being, that it’s meaningless to address PCOD without first talking about a PCOD diet.

In fitness circles, it’s often said that diet is for fat loss while exercise is for building muscles. That makes sense. What your body looks and feels like begins with what you put into it.

A PCOD diet helps restore the hormonal balance and reduce inflammation, and hence help alleviate the condition. Additionally, they ensure that you aren’t gaining weight. Weight gain is an important factor to consider because this impacts a whole host of issues associated with PCOS such as insulin resistance, fat accumulation, sleep apnea, and diabetes.

Anjali Paul

Dear Husband, Birth Control Has To Be Your Job Until My Body Has Healed From Pregnancy & Birth

Speaking of birth control pills, is birth control only a woman’s duty? Not just after pregnancy but even before and generally in life, why are women the only ones taking care of it?

And that is exactly what Anjali asks you! A beautiful article that starts with a story ends with making you think. Think. Reflect. Read. And understand that it’s not JUST the woman’s job. 

There are several myths and misconceptions that shroud vasectomy. Loss of virility to experiencing weakness are just a few of them. The social stigma associated with vasectomy is highly prevalent in several parts of our country, which needs to be changed.

There are several methods of preventing a pregnancy, and the most suitable method must be opted for, such that the side effects are minimal. With only two birth control options for men, namely condoms and vasectomy, it’s literally a joyride for them.

Pousali Dey

The Basic Information About Pregnancy & Getting Pregnant That Every Woman Should Know

So the next obvious step after birth control isn’t usually pregnancy, but it is an important step for the ones who want to opt for it. While, I am sure, all of us know the process to it, wouldn’t it be better to know more about the how of it?

Remember those missed period scares? Yeah. This article is one that might help you figure out everything you need to know about being or figuring out if you’re pregnant. 

One of the early symptoms is spotting and cramping. Besides bleeding there is a white discharge that is due to the thickening of vaginal walls. Pay attention to these slight symptoms that can be associated with pregnancy; however, as mentioned before, can also be the mistaken for a period cycle.

Tracking your days on a calendar to know the exact dates when you’re ovulating and having a family planner may help you to get the timing right. If you calculate correctly, but are still not getting pregnant, then a visit to the doctor can be helpful.

Kanika 

Taming The Monster Of Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

A couple is pregnant, they’re happy, the woman glows in the pregnancy glow… and then it’s morning, she wakes up and is sick! Morning sickness is a monster that hits a number of women. And some times goes on to last for eight months. 

But that’s where Kanika comes to your rescue. Having gone through two pregnancies and having battled this monster, she sure has a few ways to deal with it. As she says, ‘this too shall pass!’

It is hard enough that almost any smell is an order of magnitude stronger than usual and they all make you want to hurl. In my case some of the recommended foods just made things worse.

The last thing we need is guilt about how we are harming the baby because of what we eat. But if all you can tolerate on some days is white bread and potato fries, then I would say go for it. And if that is all you can manage, then the stress from guilt is not going to make your baby healthier. If you made an honest attempt at the healthy stuff then let your conscience be clear.

While it is important to try and follow a balanced diet, stress is not good for pregnancy either. So on the better days I would eat as balanced a diet as I could manage and I learned to forgive myself on days I could not.

Coffee Is My Poison

Complications Of Uterus Removal – The Stories Of 4 Women In The Words Of A Gynaecologist

Removing your uterus (surgically and legally) means you cannot have a baby anymore and for a lot of women, it’s a medically viable idea. Right from suffering from excessive period pain and bleeding to having cysts, women choose to opt for this. 

Though women are not merely their womb, the society surely thinks so! And when our author and gynaecologist spoke to four women, she realised the other side of a hysterectomy. 

Turned out she was extremely sad about the loss of her uterus and her inability to physically bear another child. She was stressed that her husband and society in general would think of her as less than a whole woman. It was even causing her libido to diminish severely. With some counselling, some medication, she became just fine.

It is a misconception that uterus removal causes reduced sexuality. While this may be true sometimes, in some cases, libido is actually increased due to the absence of fear of unwanted pregnancy.

This is what happens when you can recognise and treat mental health issues at the soonest possible time. The patient and their family, both benefit.

Phew! Feels like I went on some roller coaster ride of so many health related things and this doesn’t even begin to cover the amount of other wonderful and informative pieces we have on women and their health!

Ps. This article is only about women and their physical health, but soon, we will have another list of women and their mental health.

Now all you have to do is wait one more day. We will be back with another set of brilliant authors and articles. Keep checking this space for more #ADecadeOfWomensWeb tomorrow in a different category!

Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Sanjivani (season 2)

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