This post came in the list of the top 5 entries selected by BLOGADDA as part of the blogging contest organised by them on the a topic related to ‘ Womens’ intimate health issues ‘
Writers scribble down thoughts when stream of words relentlessly knock at the back of their minds . Yes its a passion . But more than that literature is a medium of paramount importance which can influence people in the strongest manners possible . And so also when a writer is given a chance to reach out to the masses to enlighten them about a topic that deserves to be pondered upon , he or she would be most obliged , nevertheless proud to be channeling their skill for the betterment of the society .
Being an M.B.B.S graduate myself I am more than happy to be given a platform to share my experience regarding women’s health issues and the saddening yet undeniable truth that a few matters concerning the same remains an unpleasant topic for most , even in this age of academic brilliance . For majority , Women’s health is synonymous for menstruation. Yes its more or less the forbidden word in family circles, but when it comes to consulting a doctor for a symptom regarding menstrual irregularities , I guess the scenario is showing shades of improvement . Women are less reluctant in discussing matters regarding menstruation than problems related to sexually transmitted diseases or those evolving due to unhygienic environmental conditions .
I have seen myriads of gynaecological cases while being an undergraduate , most of which narrow down to vaginal candidiasis ( symptom being whitish discharge per vaginum and itching in the vulval region ) . Women boldly speak out when the matter is concerning menses . Maybe because its a natural process and they neednt be shy regarding the same . But a few other problems like whitish discharge , foul smelling discharge, growth in the vagina , and painful coitus are those which play the villain . Sometimes women are even reluctant to speak out to their husbands lest they should consider them less worthy or god knows what all , thanks to the many taboos already ruling the society .
I know a patient who once came to the gynaecology O.P.D seeking treatment for bleeding per vaginum on days other than her usual menstrual period . On examination , there there was a growth in the cervix which was eroded . And on further examination the case was established to be cervical cancer in its advanced stage . The senior doctor enquired her why she was late in procuring treatment for the same . Then I came to know that she was a widow and for that sole reason she was reluctant in consulting a gynaecologist fearing the many wild assumptions that would be passed on in her family circle and by her neighbours about a widow having gynaecological problems ! That is the extent to which the problem has spread its roots .
Many women who come to the general surgery department would be shocked to realise that most of the surgeons in the country are males and more to their dismay one of the commonest problem named breast lump is to be treated by a general surgeon, and not by a gynaecologist . People delay treatment for that sole reason can you believe ? Only to seek refuge when they can no longer take the brunt of the advancing disease .
And yes like any other issue , the cleansing ought to begin from the roots . In urban areas people are more broad minded , thanks to the shooting number of institutions . And for that matter they are safer in many regards , even if its parents counselling the children about health matters or children speaking out to their parents . But the onus of bringing about a change in its real sense rests on the social activists working in the rural areas . How many in the under developed areas are aware of the fact that multiple child births without proper spacing is hazardous to the mother ? How many would that something as mere ( in their eyes ) as unhygienic social conditions is one of the etiological factors for the causation of the most rampant cervical cancer ? how many would know that oral contraceptive pills can cause serious health problems if taken with certain co existing medical conditions ?
The husband and the wife should hold hands in seeking treatment for such issues . There are certain diseases for which treating both the husband and wife , even if only one is diseased. Becomes mandatory . How will they realise this if the women is embarrassed to speak out to her spouse regarding her intimate health issue ? How can they know that using a barrier method ( eg. A condom ) can actually save the women from contracting a disease during sexual intercourse which has affected the male counterpart ?
The issues are countless . The health department has social activists designated as ASHA workers and many such to deal with issues regarding women of backward areas and to guide them to safer healing hands . This is a step towards the lighter end of the otherwise stinking dark tunnel . Women belonging to rural areas can opt for their help if need arises . But for that the activists should make sure that they already have a comfortable rapport with the residents . One more fine step would be a few educated women of the area coming forward to conduct classes for the less privileged ones , the idea is to break them free of hesitations and to teach them regarding basic hygienic techniques .
Concerning the urban areas, people are already breaking free from the chains i should say. Realise that be it an irregular periods or an abnormal discharge or a lump on self examination of the breast, never take chances and never ever postpond the decision to consult a doctor for the next week or next month owing to reasons as silly as embarrassment or dearth of a female doctor to consult . Take your husband along or a gal friend of yours to get over the hesitancy . Early diagnosis has lots to do with the prognosis of the disease and the efficacy of the treatment .
A very strict word of caution for the young girls who accidentally get pregnant owing to unprotected intercourse ( such things arent rare and its not unlawful if the girl is an adult ) – Never ever keep the incident away from your mother and never dare to try aborting the same in small clinics that mushroom in certain corners of the city or village . Unregistered medical practitioners are on the run and you can even end up in critical condition if manipulated by those quacks . Always approach a decent hospital and for that rely on your parents . Addressing such issues doesnt imply that such incidents are justified in any way , but then when the issue crosses that red line to even complicated matters , sometimes climaxing with the loss of lives , it demands urgent action and indepth discussion.
Women should realise that they are individuals too . The age has gone when we remained mum come what may ! Now its the time to stand up for yourself , because an individual deserves to be treated right , be it a male or a female . And as long as you arent ready to step forward for your issues , chances are bleak that anyone else would .
Take a simple step towards the bigger change this month itself . The next time you have your periods be bold enough to go to the medical shop and ask for a sanitary napkin yourself , instead of pushing your mom or anybody else for the same , considering you are old enough . The spark should begin from within you . Let the flame spread far and wide . Let the world change for the better. Cheers to a healthier tomorrow !