Your Health Matters: International Day of Action for Women's Health 2020

by Dr. Shivani Chandan L

The health of women. It revolves around menstrual and reproductive health, sexual health, mental health, non-reproductive health such as cancers, cardiac disease, and so on. 


Women are at increased risk of most of the health problems than men. This is because of our unique biological makeup. A woman undergoes physiological changes throughout her life starting with puberty through pregnancy and childbirth, perimenopause, and menopause. During these times, she is more vulnerable to certain infections, mood swings, medical disorders, and certain pre-cancerous changes as well. Most women do not know what are the actions that need to be taken to ensure good health.


Today is International Day of action for women’s health, which provides me with an opportunity to address the various actions you need to take from a Gynaecologist point of view. 
Breast cancer is known to be the most common type of cancer in women. 1 in 28 Indian women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime.


Did you know that the survival rate of breast cancer can be as high as 80% if detected early? The simplest way to detect and prevent breast cancer is a self-breast examination. This will help you to identify any lumps or masses in the breast. It is recommended that all women over the age of 20 years do a self-breast examination after your period every month. 


Cervical cancer is the cancer of the mouth of the uterus called the cervix. It is the most preventable female cancer. Pap smear is a highly recommended screening test to detect this. All sexually active women should undergo a Pap smear once every 3 years. It is a painless test done in the outpatient department involving a smear from the cervix. Human Papillomavirus Vaccine is advised for the prevention of cervical cancer.


Exercise is another important activity that is needed in every woman's life as a part of the daily routine. This helps with mental well being, overcoming hormonal imbalances in gynaecological problems such as PCOS, and prevents health problems like diabetes and hypertension as well. 


Proper use of access to contraceptive services and safe abortion practices are recommended to take adequate care of the sexual and reproductive health of women. 


Prevention is always better than cure. On this International Day of Action for Women's Health 2020, let us promise and help each other and the women in our lives to take at least one step towards better health.

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