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Top 7 Health Problems Women Are Prone To

Imagine living without illness to slow you down. While there are no lifetime guarantees, being informed can help you take enough precautionary measures to ward off health problems. Know the top 8 problems women are prone to.

Women's Health By Ariba Khaliq / May 06, 2015

How Being a Woman Puts You at Health Risks

Wonder why our grandmothers and moms are so fit when they hardly had access to gyms and ‘healthy’ options to eat like we have now? While rapid urbanization and redefinition of gender roles are giving women more freedom and power, these factors are also taking their toll on their health.

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Premenstrual Syndrome

There are so many ‘PMSing’ jokes cracked by men who do not know what women actually go through. Bloating, abdominal cramps, breast swelling or tenderness, constipation, joint or muscle pain, acne along with emotional symptoms like mood swings are some of the symptoms occurring 1 to 2 weeks before periods. Some women may even suffer from a very severe form of PMS called the Premenstrual Dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

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Vaginal Infections

Do you have itching and redness around your vagina, abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell, burning sensation during urination and/or pain during intercourse? It could be vaginitis, an infection or inflammation of the vagina. Some women may not have any symptoms. Extreme illness, creams, tight clothing, douching, sexual activity, faecal contamination, etc. disrupt normal bacterial environment of the vagina and cause vaginitis. Vaginal yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter creams and vaginal suppositories, and bacterial vaginosis with antibiotics.

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Urinary Tract Infections

Women have much shorter urethras – a good enough reason for easy upward movement of germs to their bladders. Urinary tract infection (UTI) affects the urinary tract and is more commonly seen in women than men. The risk of UTI increases during menopause. Cystitis (bladder infection) is the lower urinary tract infection and pyelonephritis (kidney infection) is the upper urinary tract infection. UTI may cause burning pain during urination, frequent urination and/or urgency to urinate. Fever and pain may also be seen in pyelonephritis. In uncomplicated cases, urinary tract infections are easily treated with a short course of antibiotics. UTI is most commonly caused by E. coli bacteria. The infection may also be viral or fungal.

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And if you thought problems with menstruation end here, you could not be more wrong. Every month the cells of the endometrium (inner lining of the womb) swell and get thicker, and are shed during menstruation. Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial cells grow in other areas of the body most commonly in the area lining the abdominal cavity. It causes irregular bleeding and mild to severe cramping pain in the pelvis which may radiate to legs. It may even lead to infertility in some women. What’s worse, it may not even be your fault – it’s known to run in the family.

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With the demands of the family, career and other activities many women feel tired every day. But do you feel tired even before the day has begun? Is your skin pale? Do you have brittle nails? Chances are that you are anaemic and your blood lacks enough red blood cells. Low RBC count means reduced oxygen carrying haemoglobin (Hb) count which translates to low oxygen in blood making you feel exhausted, irritable and dizzy. Smooth, swollen painful red tongue, cracks or fissures at the corners of the mouth and sore and pale mouth are other signs. Blood loss from menstruation, increased blood supply demand during pregnancy, deficiencies of vitamins like vitamins B2, B­6, B12, and folic acid due to poor eating habits can cause anaemia.

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Breast and Cervical Cancer

According to medical experts, about 4 out of 5 breast cancer patients in India are at an advanced stage when they come to a hospital. No time for fitness, bad food, increased tobacco and alcohol consumption and lifestyle changes like late marriage are the perfect recipe for breast cancer. A lump or mass in the breast, discharge from or rash around the nipples, skin dimpling on the breast are some of the signs you should look out for. Cervical cancer has beaten breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in India; it kills around 33,000 women every year in India. Cervical cancer is known to occur because of a virus called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) transmitted through sexual contact. Bad local hygiene, too many children, not enough spacing between children, low nutrition levels and early marriage all contribute to the risk factors.

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Every 3rd or 4th woman in the cities has ‘fibroids’ these days. Usually detected when women approach the doctor due to very heavy bleeding and pain during menstruation or when they have problems conceiving, fibroids are nothing but fibrous growths in the uterus. They grow fairly slowly, and are formed in response to the female hormone oestrogen. They occur naturally, and sometimes shrink after menopause due to the lack of the hormone in the body. Occasionally, they can grow to weigh several kilograms and cause pain during sexual intercourse and frequent urination, urgency to urinate and in very rare cases, infertility.

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