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Key elements of women’s health

Filed on March 22, 2020

Women’s health is the key to a good family life. With personal and professional responsibilities and commitments, every lady is bound to miss out on her health. Here are some elements a woman needs to be watchful of at various stages of her life. Specialist Gynecologists Dr. Jasbir Chattwal in Zulekha Hospital Dubai and Dr. Asha Anand in Zulekha Hospital Sharjah share their insights on vaginal wellness, allergies, exercising, eating healthy and regular checks.

What are the various types of women cancers?

Being a woman itself puts you in a risk of cancer that can affect reproductive organs of a woman. Cervical, Uterine and vulvar cancer are referred to as gynecological cancers. In addition to these the other most common cancers in women are breast, colorectal and lung cancers. Early screening and detection can prevent any complications due to these cancers.

What are some allergies, skin rashes etc. a woman needs to be concerned about before it is too late?

Everyone has had the unpleasant experience of a rash on the skin on body or on their private parts.  It can be in the form of skin discoloration like pink, red, purple and seem flat or bumpy, itchy, scaly with pus. Our skins are complicated and any abnormality is manifested on it in form of allergy or rash. Common allergies may be drug allergy, allergic contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, tinea, shingles etc. These need to be diagnosed and treated early and appropriately in order to prevent complications.

What foods does one need to watch? Can oils be a cause of concern for allergies? 

Any type of food can be a cause of concern for allergies in some people. The symptoms of food allergy develop in few seconds or minutes after having food. These can be in the form of tingling or itching in the mouth or itchy red rashes known as hives on skin. Sometimes it can be life-threatening in the form of swelling inside the mouth, face and throat known as angioedema which needs immediate treatment. Common food allergies are due to eggs, fish, milk, nuts, peanuts, soyabean, and sometimes even wheat. Similarly some oils such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil can be harmful. These need to be identified and avoided.

What are some vaginal diseases women must be aware and be cautious about?

In present times the most common problems with which the women come to visit the doctors specially the gynecologist are Vulvovaginal infections due to fungal, bacterial and viral infections leading to cervical dysplasia, irregular bleeding, pelvic pain, polycystic ovarian disease, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and tumours, urinary incontenece, uterovaginal prolapse, chronic back pain, myalgia, breast lumps and breast pain and infertility which is increasing due to various reasons including modern unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits of high sugary and junk food with lack of physical activity.

The most common disease that we come across is infection of the vagina due to a variety of microbes like fungus, bacteria, and chlamydia. Sometimes we are concerned about swellings or cysts which appear in and around the vagina. These can be benign cyst like a bartholins or sebecious cyst. Very rarely it can also be a symptom of cancer.

Allergic reactions commonly known as “contact dermatitis” in and around vaginal region are very common due to excessive use of soaps, irritant perfumes and douches. Forgotten tampons inside vagina can be a reason for foul smelling discharge and spotting. It can also cause serious infection if left inside for many days. Repeated use of tampons is known to produce ulcerations in the vagina which can be a reason of spotting in young women. Sometimes a swelling in the vaginal region in a woman can also be sign of prolapse of the womb. This is seen commonly in older women due to loss of support to the womb due to multiple child births or after menopause.

Can vaginal diseases be cured with just medication? When is a vaginal surgery required?

Most of the diseases in and around vagina like infections can be cured by medications. Allergic contact dermatitis requires care for the area without overtly going for medications. Surgical treatment is done for swellings and cysts for biopsy and to confirm the diagnosis. Prolapse of the womb is treated by conservative methods and if it fails, surgical treatment is the preferred treatment. Cancers of the area require surgery and if detected early enough, can be treated.

What are some practices you recommend women follow to avoid vaginal diseases?

Vagina and the area around it which we call the vulva has sensitive skin so it is important to avoid douching, cleaning with soaps. Preferably use cotton underwear and if you ever feel any abnormal discharge or itching do not forget to visit your doctor as you may be having an infection. For any abnormality like swelling or cyst in and around the vagina, it is good to have it checked by your doctor to be sure that you are safe. Tampons are being increasingly used by younger women and due to the busy and stressful work life there is a possibility of a forgotten tampon. It is always good to be mindful about your body and if you have any foul smelling discharge or spotting get a gynecology consultation as it may be difficult to remove it on your own.

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