With new gender roles, responsibilities, independent and liberated lives Indian women are struggling to create a niche for themselves. Society keeps on increasing its expectation without creating a more favourable environment for women and hence health issues are common with women.
Indian women have high mortality rates in childhood and reproductive years due to strong son preference and neglect of the daughter. She is looked upon as an economic burden due to dowry practice and her contribution to the family is often overlooked and belittled.
The health issues common to almost all women are:
Selective abortion, female infanticide- Social discrimination against women and preference for son leaves females at risk in utero itself. Many girls do not survive to see the light of the day.
Malnutrition- Girls in middle class or poor class are fed less in amount and quality unlike their male counterparts leading them susceptible to diseases, malnutrition, even death in childhood.
Anaemia- Because of malnutrition or poor eating habits, majority women land up in anaemia. You may feel exhausted, lethargic, irritable, dizzy, pale skin, tongue maybe swollen and painful .Body losing blood each month and pregnancy demands create iron and vitamin deficiency. Anaemia is very easy and inexpensive to treat and gives you feeling of well being. So don’t keep on living with anaemia- overcome it.
Menstrual problems- Almost all women experience some period problem like heavy period, irregular, painful, no period etc at some point of their lifetime and should consult their gynaecologist to alleviate anxiety.
Vaginal infection- Any itching, redness, discharge or unpleasant odour indicates vaginal infection. Tight clothing, douching, sexual activity, faecal contamination can disrupt the vaginal flora and cause vaginitis which can be easily treated with antibiotics, antifungals and suppositories.
Urinary tract infection- The urethra is very short in females leaving them more prone to urinary infections. Risk is increased in newly married, pregnant and menopausal women. It can cause burning, frequent urination, fever and pain. It can travel upwards and involve bladder, ureter and kidneys if left untreated. It can be treated by antibiotics after culture of urine is done.
Pregnancy- Majority women do not have control over their fertility and so fertility is high with poorly monitored, too many and too less spaced pregnancies. Women face more complications and deaths in pregnancy in our part of the world. Pre conceptional counselling, proper care, delivery in a equipped birthing unit and contraceptive use need to be implemented to safeguard women in the reproductive age group.
Osteoporosis- It means low calcium, vitamin D, weak bones and increased fractures. Calcium is an important mineral needed by women in various stages. Diagnosis by X Ray and bone density measurements. Can be treated by healthy lifestyle, exercise, healthy weight, calcium rich diet and supplements in pregnancy and lactation.
Obesity- Due to faulty lifestyle and eating habits, obesity is rising in epidemic proportions leading to risks of diabetes, heart disease, infertility, PCOS, hypertension and early death. Treatment is lifestyle and diet changes with medication and surgery in morbid cases.
Mental health- Being less preferred, low education, lack of employment, domestic exploitation and violence, no access to healthcare leads to mental disorders, depression and suicidal tendencies in women. Postnatal depression is common with birth of female child. Counselling and medications can easily treat these, need is to seek help and not be at mercy of some one else.