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Menstruation is a barometer of a women's health. Any changes in the menstrual pattern of a woman could be a harbinger of serious underlying disease and should not be overlooked. However adolescent girls are a special case where menstrual pattern is variable and much different from Adult women.
It is very common for teenaged girls who have recently started menstruating to have irregular periods. This period pattern is wrongly classified as 'period problems". At the same time one needs to understand that some of the real problems like period pain in young girls are often overlooked as "normal" when they could be associated with serious medical disorders.
Although menstrual disorders are fairly common in most young women, it may have an underlying cause which can be indicative of a serious issue. Therefore, it is recommended for young women to consult a gynecologist if any difficulties arise.
Symptoms Of Menstrual Disorders (Severe):
The severe symptoms are usually accompanied by mild symptoms such as:
PCOS and Menstrual Disorders:
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common reason for women to experience irregular menstrual periods. PCOS occurs when there is an excess of male hormones (androgens) in the body which hinder the production and release of eggs in the ovaries, resulting in menstruation problems. Symptoms of PCOS are acne, hair loss and weight gain. Women with PCOS are 80% more likely to suffer from fertility issues later in life. Along with that, PCOS can result in high cholesterol and high blood pressure. One serious concern for women with PCOS is resistance to insulin which leads to diabetes.
Diet and menstrual disorders:
Poor diet can also lead to menstrual complications. An extremely high fiber diet can result in less frequent ovulations and therefore irregular periods. A diet which is too low in fats and fatty acid can also result in abnormal menstrual patterns.
Stress and PCOS:
Young women are often prone to immense stress. Stress is one of the primary reasons for delayed periods. Stress can cause minor complications in the hypothalamus which may have consequences in the levels of hormones in the body.
Having a baby is nothing less than a dream come true, but it comes with its own share of problems for new mothers. A lot of women today are opting for a C-section, or a Cesarean surgery to deliver their babies. While it is safe for most, at times certain complications can arise as a result of the operation.
As if life for mothers wasn’t tough already, post Cesarean wound infection is another concern some new mothers have to face. It usually occurs due to a bacterial infection in the area where the incision was made during surgery. If you have recently had a C-section, look out for signs in the first couple of weeks such as fever (100.5ºF to 103ºF), wound sensitivity and pain in the lower abdomen area. Other symptoms include swelling at the incision point or in the legs, discharge from the wound, smelly vaginal discharge or blood clots and difficulty in passing urine. If you notice any of these signs, act fast and visit your gynaecologist at the earliest, to avoid complications from the infection.
Why does it happen?
There can be various reasons that an infection happens, just like on any other part of the body where a wound is exposed. Generally, it is more prevalent among obese or overweight women or those taking any form of steroids. Other causes include, an incision closed with staples or nylon sutures, in cases of an emergency C-section, or from an infection of the amniotic sac.
Types and Treatment
C-section wound infections are of two types that is Cellulitis or wound abscess and thrush.
- Cellulitis and wound abscesses are caused by bacteria and are treated with antibiotics. If you’re in the hospital, you will be given the antibiotics intravenously, but if not, they can be taken orally as well. In case of abscesses, the pus is first drained out and smeared with antiseptic before being covered with gauze, after which the wound will heal on its own.
- Thrush is caused by a fungal infection and is normally seen in women taking steroids or in those who have a weak immune system. Anti-fungal drugs are provided to combat the issue.
How can it be prevented?
Here are some things new moms can do to prevent the C-section wound from getting infected:
- Regular follow-up visits with your obstetrician
- Practising good hygiene and healing
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids
- Avoiding any strenuous exercises that may put pressure on the abdomen area and stitches
- Resting as much as possible
Remember, even if you do develop an infection, it can be treated if addressed in time. New mothers need to take extra care of themselves, as a healthy mom, makes a happy mom!
A menstrual cup is a flexible cup designed out of medical grade silicone or rubber, which can be inserted inside the vagina. It is not used for absorbing blood; rather it collects the menstrual blood.
Advantages of menstrual cups over tampons
- Tampons are disposable. Menstrual cups can be cleaned, rinsed and reused.
- Need not be changed after every few hours. One can go without changing a menstrual cup for more than 12 hours.
- Easier to use compared to a tampon. The insertion is smoother and it is generally not very uncomfortable if insertion is done correctly.
- The menstrual cups need not be replaced frequently. Tampons however are needed in large numbers every month.
- Tampons absorb almost all the vaginal fluid, leaving it dry and prone to irritation. Menstrual cups on the other hand, leave the beneficial bacteria in place and maintain vaginal pH.
- Menstrual cups help prevent menstrual odours as it is present internally.
Reasons why you should use menstrual cups
Menstrual cups rarely cause allergic reactions, unlike tampons. One menstrual cup lasts an entire day, month and even years. They are also the most environment friendly choice as there is no need to dispose them after every use. They prevent staining, leakage and do not increase muscle cramps. There is no risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) from menstrual cups, which is a major risk from leaving tampons inside the body for too many hours. Menstrual cups are also helpful if you are a swimmer. They don’t make things difficult for you at all. Menstrual cups are made from 100% medically approved silicone and not cotton or rayon. If you are unable to use tampons, you may choose menstrual cups as the insertion is generally smoother. However, it completely depends on individual preference. Menstrual cups also reduce the bulk of having to carry like sanitary napkins during travel, and urgent needs to change. Thus it makes a long journey worry free. No matter what protective measures you take, remember to be comfortable. Try and maintain a diet rich in nutrients, that can help regulate the blood flow and prevent painful blood clots. Also, it is important to remain physically active to prevent muscle cramps and back pain.
Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful journeys in a woman’s life. However, one must remember that there are several dos and don’ts linked to it. You can’t lead an undisciplined life and expect a healthy outcome. Your pregnancy has to be systematically dealt with. You have to give up on a lot of habits that could pose a risk to the health of your growing foetus. Here are some tips to have a healthy pregnancy:
- Quit smoking: If you are a regular smoker, it’s time to quit smoking. You must remember that babies born to mothers who smoke have a higher chance of being born as stillborn or prematurely. Babies have also been found to have low birth weight. This is really bad. Your baby will have to fight a lot to survive. You might be asked to undergo an emergency and untimely delivery. On the other hands, if you quit smoking, you will have lesser or no complications at all. Your foetus will be healthy and grow into a lovely and healthy infant.
- Eat well, eat right, and eat on time: Your diet plays an essential role in your entire pregnancy. You must include all essential nutrients in your diet. Don’t skip your meals and try to have a balanced diet. Avoid spicy and oily food as you experience indigestion issues due to pregnancy hormones. You will need to take some 300 calories extra per day for your foetus. Add vegetables and fruits to your diet.
- Take multivitamins: Pregnancy leads to a deficiency of nutrients in your body. You must take a lot of multi vitamins to avoid the deficiency. Ideally, one must start taking the additional vitamin supplements before the pregnancy starts. Thereafter, she must continue with the recommended doses. For example, Omega 3 reduces the chances of giving birth to premature babies.
- Take sufficient rest: You must take rest in adequate amounts and take up moderate exercises in a day for not more than 30 minutes.
- Don’t be exposed to toxics: You should try and minimise the chances of getting exposed to toxic substances.
- Destress yourself: Try and destress yourself by listening to good music, reading a book or taking a careful massage. But you must avoid moving outdoors.
- Drink water: You must drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated all the time. Your fluid balance must be maintained throughout the pregnancy.
The pressure of blood vessels in the body is referred to as blood pressure. It is essentially the measure of the force of the blood while it travels through the vessels. Doctors measure it with a blood pressure device and a stethoscope. A reading higher than the normal reading is termed as which blood pressure.
Blood pressure during pregnancy is of 3 types:
- Chronic hypertension: This is the kind of hypertension that could be pre-existent before the pregnancy or has developed after 5th month of pregnancy.
- Gestational hypertension: This is the type of hypertension, which stays till late pregnancy and disappears suddenly. There are no particular symptoms about it.
- Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH): This condition is also known as preeclampsia or toxemia. It can cause serious potential harm if medical care is not taken on time. Both the mother and the baby gets affected if not treatment is not started on time. It typically affects a woman during the 20th week of pregnancy. Some other symptoms include excess protein in the blood and the urine.
The risk of pregnancy induced hypertension:
PIH can have serious consequences on the baby and the mother at large. The placenta fails to carry an adequate amount of protein in urine. This can result in several complications ranging from a low body weight of the fetus to other birth related complications. Once common complications where a baby suffers is known as eclampsia. This is a condition where both the baby and the mother suffer from seizures.
Symptoms of pregnancy induced hypertension:
There are various symptoms of pregnancy induced hypertensions. Some of the visible signs of this condition are vomiting blood, faster heartbeat, acute headaches, swelling of the hands and feet, less than normal urine, nausea, persistent fever, pain in the tummy, dizziness, frequent vomiting, drowsiness and blurred vision. Other symptoms are headache, excess weight gain , edema over feet, abdominal wall and other parts of body. If a woman is facing any one or more of the above symptoms, she should make it a point to visit a doctor at the earliest.
Risk factors of pregnancy induced hypertension:
PIH is frequently observed in those women whose sisters or mothers have faced the same during their pregnancies. The risk factors increase in those women who are carrying more than one baby. A woman who have not attended adulthood or who are above the age of 40 also runs the risk of suffering from pregnancy induced hypertension.
Diagnosis and treatment:
There is no single test that could identify PIH. Along with the usual symptoms, a doctor looks for persistent high blood pressure for any indication. A doctor might prescribe few blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. The treatment that works for this condition is to ensure that the baby is delivered at the earliest. If it’s the condition is detected few weeks before the delivery, a doctor let the condition be as it is, if however, the condition is diagnosed several months before the pregnancy, a doctor can have the baby delivered early in order to ensure the sound health of the baby and the mother.
When it comes to giving birth, vaginal delivery is considered to be the most natural process. However, several women nowadays opt for C-section or Cesarean section to avoid the labour pain that accompanies natural birth.If you are pregnant and weighing the pros and cons of natural and C-section delivery, here are a few things to consider.
The Pros of this method of delivery are as follows:
- From the psychological perspective, women who undertake a vaginal delivery have a positive birth giving experience. Women undergoing this method think they should be present in the process.
- The recovery time for women opting for vaginal delivery is shorter. The mother and the baby can make skin contact right after the delivery, which enhances the bonding process.
- Babies who are born through vaginal delivery develop much fewer medical complications. There are fewer respiratory problems, allergies and the baby can start breastfeeding soon.
The Cons of vaginal delivery are as follows:
- Vaginal delivery is a stressful process for the women undergoing it and the time required cannot be predicted. Some deliveries take less time, while others may take hours.
- Usually, there are no cons for the babies who are born via vaginal delivery. In very rare cases, brain injury can be experienced.
The pros of this type of delivery method are as follows:
- Many women choose Caesarean sections to avoid long labor hours. Planned C-section surgeries enable the mother to plan the birth. Better control is acquired over the delivery, which can be predicted properly.
- In case your baby is large, or if you are carrying twins, C-section is the best delivery option.
- If the mother has diseases such as HIV or the mother's blood has a high viral load, C-section surgeries should be opted as the risk of the infection being passed on to the baby is decreased.
The cons of Cesarean section surgery are as follows:
- C-section is a major surgery and a long time is required for recovery. There may be risks of infection, but they can be prevented by caring for the surgical wound properly. C-section delays the breastfeeding process and the mother cannot have immediate contact with her baby, which can affect the bonding.
- Some babies, delivered through C-section may have respiratory problems. C-sections may also cause complications, such as problems with anaesthesia.
While both processes have their pros and cons, it is best to discuss with your doctor to understand which process will suit you more. Depending on your pregnancy and whether there are any complications involved, your doctor will suggest the best way possible. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!