The lifestyle patterns of women today are increasing the risk of many reproductive diseases. Managing between family and work, most women do not prioritize their health, which leads to delay in treatment. Early diagnosis is important in most disorders; a lack of it leads to worsening of symptoms, impact on other organs, and a pause in daily life.
Here is a list of diseases that require an urgent appointment with a gynaecologist.
1. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Some women tend to feel mood swings, fatigue, and intense hunger before their period starts. This phenomenon, known as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), can develop into its second and more dangerous stage, PMDD. PMDD requires medical assistance for consultation and treatment. If untreated, it can cause intense headaches, breast pain or tenderness, anger, and depression and can severely affect not just the quality of life but also the physical and mental health of a woman.
2. PCOD/ PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) can occur due to many reasons, including improper lifestyle, lack of good nutrition, exercise, stress, or previous medical conditions.Generally being Asian, or a family history of the diabetes or thyroid could make you prone to the disease. It is basically an imbalance of hormones that cause improper maturation or release of eggs from the ovaries, causing irregular periods and sub fertility. This disorder can be treated with a positive lifestyle change and some medications. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), on the other hand, is a more extended spectrum of the disease that causes the overproduction of androgens in the female body. Without the timely intervention of a gynaecologist, PCOS can lead to worsening hormonal imbalance, physical changes in the body such as excess facial hair, weight gain, and infertility. It could also lead to sleep disturbances, depression, and diabetes, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, endometrial hyperplasia in later life too.
3. Cancers: Women can be at risk of different kinds of cancer related to their reproductive organs. Breast and cervical cancer are the most common cancers in women. Breast cancer has a high cure rate if detected early, so regular breast examination and mammograms are essential. Also cervical cancer is now preventable with the hpv vaccine and regular Pap smears. Risk factors for this are repeated infections in the private parts, multiple sexual partners, multiple child births and lack of local hygiene. Symptoms like sudden vaginal bleeding after intercourse, unusual bleeding white discharge from the vagina, and severe abdominal pain should not be ignored. Another common cancer – endometrial cancer has the first symptom as bleeding after menopause or abnormal heavy flow in the Perimenopausal age. Early diagnosis of such diseases plays a tremendous role in efficient prevention, treatment, and recovery.
4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Diseases like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV/AIDS can have devastating effects on people’s lives if not treated on time. It is essential to consult a gynaecologist as soon as the person experiences the early symptoms of the disease, such as itchiness in the genital area, the appearance of small sores, sudden bleeding, pain, etc. Besides this, regular STD screening should be done annually as most of these diseases don’t show any symptoms and eventually can have consequences like PID and infertility.
5. Infertility: Medical conditions like PCOD, PID, ovarian cysts, tuberculosis and other comorbidities can negatively impact the reproductive system in women. Other factors like age, weight, consumption of alcohol and tobacco products, and a bad lifestyle can also play a part in causing infertility. Fertility usually tends to decline gradually with age and timely action with different treatment options should be discussed with a gynaecologist. Depending on the condition, the doctor can suggest different fertility options, such as fertility drugs, IVF, IUI, egg or embryo preservation and more, to the patient to help them with fertility.
Lifestyle modifications like eating healthy and following an exercise regime, proper sleep and stress management can help in preventing most of these diseases and disorders. Most women face these conditions which should not be ignored as early diagnosis and treatment can help them lead a healthy life.
The author is a medical practioner of Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, CK Birla Hospital (R), Gurugram. Views are personal.