Dr. Sumeet Kaur Mehta, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon & IVF Specialist with over 12 years of experience in gynecology, shares with us some of the reasons why you should not neglect this.
Accenture: Why is period health important? Are there any signs that should set off alarm bells for women and urge them to seek help?
Dr. Sumeet Kaur Mehta: Period health is important to ensure reproductive as well as mental health which if ignored can result in many long-term and short-term problems. Some of the symptoms which could lead to various reproductive infections are pelvic pain, persistent vaginal discharge, irregular periods, low abdominal pain and so on. If you face any of the above, do not hesitate to visit your doctor immediately. These symptoms could be the start of disease and problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and at a later stage, cervical cancer as well. Women over 40 should ensure that either a PAP smear or liquid biopsy is done annually.
A: Irregular periods and excessive mood swings are some of the common problems faced by women. What are the triggers for this and other period-related problems?
DSKM: Women have become busier nowadays. They have to manage both work and home simultaneously and therefore ignore themselves. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress, a poor diet, lack of exercise, the lack of proper sleep, smoking, consumption of alcohol, and even an increase in caffeine intake can all lead to menstrual problems. What women need to understand is that poor physical health leads to issues in mental health. This results in the hormones getting affected.
The stress you are putting on your body affects your brain.
A: A study has shown that 25% of women are facing problems in period health due to the ongoing pandemic and lockdown. What are your thoughts on this?
DSKM: This has definitely taken a toll on women the world over. Mentally and physically, the stress has been overwhelming. Schools have been shut, everyone is working from home – the woman more often than not has borne the brunt of handling everything. With increased stress, it is but natural that more problems are being faced at this time. No access to gyms, not being allowed to go outdoors for walks or any form of exercise has led to an even poorer and unhealthy lifestyle among many. Increased costs coupled with poor economic activity, at times unavailability of pain medication or products, and the fear of going to a doctor if you had a problem – all this has contributed significantly during this time.
A: Please share some steps that women should take to alleviate these problems.
- Follow a healthy diet; ensure that there is no deficiency of any minerals or vitamins.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle.
- Exercise daily.
- Practice yoga or meditate to bring down stress levels.
- Ensure you get enough sleep.
- Refrain from alcohol or smoking.
- Reduce caffeine intake- this indirectly leads to mood swings and other premenstrual symptoms.
- Something as basic as the need to change pads/tampons regularly is also essential to good period health.
- Take multivitamins such as B6 and B1 and Zinc- they help in reducing mood swings.
- Maintain good personal hygiene – do not use advertised products to clean the genital area. Warm water is best.
- Do not put off visiting your doctor. In the current situation, do an online consultation.
- Most importantly, take time out for yourself. Do what makes you happy at that time – try and keep at least one hour for yourself. If your brain is happy, your hormones will be happy.