Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to prevent gynecological disorders: Dr Anjum Malik


Although gynecological disorders are common these days, however, they can be prevented and managed by avoiding junk food, exercising regularly, and maintaining personal hygiene. Mir Baseerat from Rising Kashmir speaks with Dr Anjum Malik, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, SKIMS Medical College, Bemina, about symptoms, treatment and advice to maintain general well-being.

Q: What are gynecological disorders?

A: Gynecological disorders are diseases associated with the female genital tract. These can be internal genitalia (uterus, tube, cervix, ovaries) or external genitalia.

Q: What are the most common gynecological disorders in women?

A: There are a lot of things that are geographically or culturally related to gynecological disorders. For each geographic area or cultural sect, the disease pattern is different.

In our region (Kashmir), we can roughly classify them among those observed in unmarried young girls, women of childbearing age and pre and post menopausal women.

Dysmenorrhea: Young girls most often complain of dysmenorrhea, which means having a painful period. This is a common symptom in young girls, not a disease. In the young age group, the uterus is small, and during the menstrual cycle, the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) begins to grow, then about 25-28 days there is a peeling of the endometrium. , called menstruation. They may take symptomatic treatment in the form of certain antispasmodics which will help them relieve the pain.

PMS: Some girls have PMS associated and for this we have drugs that can be given to them for a few months that will help them overcome this symptom. Most often, they need symptomatic treatment during the period and once they get married and give birth, it resolves afterwards.

Menorrhagia or heavy menstrual cycle is something a lot of women complain about, for some it can be at the onset of menarche, so there is nothing you can do. It is only if it affects their general well-being that they need medication. Hemostats can be given to control the bleeding, but in some cases they can be pathological and may be associated with fibroids or polyps. Sometimes a hormonal imbalance called dysfunctional uterine bleeding occurs. If it is severe, it requires proper investigation and management.

Ovarian Cysts: Ovarian cysts can simply be physiological or pathological cysts. Sometimes there is a collection of fluid around the follicle. It grows for a while but eventually disappears in 2-3 months. So persistence should be assessed and managed accordingly. Some ovarian cysts are pre-malignant or overtly malignant. An appropriate protocol including surgery or chemotherapy / radiation therapy that the gynecologist will follow will help manage these cysts.

Endometriosis: This is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus is present on the surface of the uterus, ovaries, tubes, etc. and leads to the formation of ovarian cysts called endometriomas. It can be a cause of infertility.

Vaginal discharge: This is a very common thing that most patients complain about. In the childbearing age group, vaginal discharge is normal; it can be premenstrual or at the time of ovulation. As long as it is not smelly, thick and curdled, and itchy, it is considered normal or physiological discharge and there is nothing to be done. We can simply maintain hygiene and make sure of the time of the month.

PCOD: It’s on the increase and it’s the most common and most important problem among young girls. Girls these days consume a lot of junk food, the carbohydrate content of the food is very high. Young girls consume crisps, chocolates and soft drinks, which is very unhealthy. This leads to obesity and disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism. Polycystic ovarian disease is characterized by hyperandrogenism and anovulation manifested by acne, excessive facial hair, irregular periods, and infertility.

We need to counsel young girls, involve them in activities such as exercise, running, skipping, jogging and cycling that will help them stay active.

Cervical cancer: The incidence is very low in our region.

Symptoms related to menopause: There may be postmenopausal hot flashes and osteoporosis requiring hormonal replacement under strict vigilance. Postmenopausal bleeding should be taken very seriously and should be investigated and managed accordingly.

Q: What are the common gynecological symptoms for which you should see a gynecologist?

A: The patient needs medical advice if she has anemia from menorrhagia and this affects her general well-being. If she is unable to continue with her daily activities and is confined to bed at that time or if the patient’s hemoglobin level has dropped dramatically (say 10 to 7 g), it means that she must see a gynecologist immediately.

If she finds that her abdomen is distended, it may be an ovarian cyst or a large fibroid, she should see a doctor.

Seek medical attention if they have irregular periods or have sudden facial hair growth, acne, sudden excessive weight gain, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

Q: How important is gynecological screening?

A: Pap smear cervical screening is a very important screening tool. Even if the incidence of cervical cancer is low, you should still opt for cervical screening as it is highly recommended for women of childbearing age.

Women with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer should have regular check-ups and screenings.

Q: How does hormonal imbalance affect an individual’s gynecological health?

A: It can be at the onset of menarche which can present as irregular or heavy periods until the menstrual / hormonal cycles become regular. A girl who has just had her first period can be very upset if her cycles are irregular and heavy and lead to anemia. She should see a doctor.

Around the age of premenopause, again, there may be some hormonal imbalance resulting in heavy and irregular periods. An unhealthy lifestyle can also lead to hormonal imbalances. If girls become active and take care of their eating habits, PCOS can be decreased to a great extent.

Q: General gynecological health advice for women?

• Maintain your weight.

• Avoid unhealthy foods.

• Do not skip meals, if at work, school or college, eat food, whether it is salad, roast or a homemade dish.

• Regular exercise.

• Maintain vaginal hygiene.

• If possible, get out in the sun, get plenty of sun as women are predisposed to osteoporosis. If you cannot go out regularly, go out intermittently or take milk or any other dairy product that is high in calcium and vitamin D. Eat fruits, vegetables, and protein.

• If the menstrual cycle is heavy, eat a diet rich in iron and see a doctor if this affects your general well-being.

See a gynecologist if you have any of the symptoms described above.


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