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6 common mistakes most women make that endanger their breast health
Good breast health is very necessary for a woman to avoid the risks of getting breast diseases, most particularly breast cancer. But there are some common mistakes most women make without knowing that they contribute to the threats of breast diseases. Read on to know which common habits may be bad for your breast health and what lifestyle alterations you can make to avoid them.
1. Not taking requisite care of your breasts with increasing age
The chances of developing diseases like breast cancer increase with age, especially as you enter the 40s and 50s. Most women don't consider their chronological age with requisite seriousness and this can expose them to higher risks of breast diseases. As you hit 40, you should sincerely make it a habit to get regular clinical exams to maintain proper breast health.
2. Not considering an annual mammogram
An x-ray of the breasts is known as a mammogram which is usually performed to detect premature symptoms of breast cancer. Studies reveal that a large number of women do not consider getting an annual mammogram done even after the age of 40. Experts are of the opinion that this can be threatening to your breast health as a delay of even a few months can result in developed and undetected breast cancer symptoms. So, it is recommended that after entering your 40s get a mammogram done after every year.
3. Not keeping track of your weight
According to researchers, women who have bmi (body mass index) more than 25 are considered obese and have greater chances of developing breast diseases in comparison to women having a balanced weight. The risk rises due to increase in the formation of oestrogen caused by the greater number of fat cells. Increased level of oestrogen is responsible for the growth of 'hormone-receptor-positive' type of breast cancer. You should try to eat healthy and regularly monitor your weight to avoid obesity.
4. Avoiding exercise
Avoiding exercise can have adverse effects on your breast health. Studies prove that women who exercise for about 4 to 7 hours every week have lower chances of developing breast diseases. This is due to the fact that regular workout ensures limited blood levels of the hormone 'insulin growth factor' which significantly influences the growth and behaviour of breast cells. So, start exercising from today to stay fit and maintain proper breast health.
5. Drinking too much alcohol
Regular consumption of alcohol increases risks of breast cancer as it causes damage to the DNA in cells. Moreover, it raises levels of oestrogen and other hormones responsible for triggering 'hormone-receptor-positive' breast cancer. You can avoid this risk by keeping your alcohol consumption to moderate levels and reserved for special occasions.
6. Exposing yourself to too many chemicals in the form of cosmetics
Most women use too many cosmetic products containing certain chemicals that increase their chances of developing breast diseases. This happens because often these chemicals tend to disturb the hormonal balance of the body by mimicking or blocking certain hormones. Consult an Expert & get answers to your questions!
The question of whether or not a woman should work out or not when it is the time of the month is one that has been much talked about. Fluctuations in hormone levels that take place during the monthly cycle have a tremendous impact on the level of energy, stamina and the body's response to exercise. The likelihood of getting injured is also different during periods.
Exercising during your period has many positive impacts on the body. Each woman's ability to work out and her response to it are different and hence the workout routine you must adhere to can vary from person to person.
What are the benefits of working out during periods?
- exercising during periods can be effective in alleviating the symptoms that accompany your period at the time such as stress and anxiety.
- loss of body fluids through sweating while doing exercises significantly reduces bloating in the belly.
- exercising can also ensure that there is less cramping and heavy flow during periods.
- endorphins released during exercise functions as a natural painkiller for period pains.
What are the best ways of working out during periods?
Depending upon how your body responds to periods, suitable workout routines can vary from high-intensity training (hit) like running, cycling and heavy lifting to low intensity training (lit) like brisk walking and step aerobics.
Most women opt for light exercises during the first few days of the cycle and then gradually increase intensity, which is advisable for those who are not in the habit of regularly working out. Athletes and sportswomen who train all around the year take to high-intensity workouts that focus on core strengthening and cardio boost.
What exercises should be avoided during periods?
The only kind of workout that should be avoided during this time is yoga that involves any 'inverted pose' that requires a woman to perform partial or complete headstands. These poses negatively impact blood flow and can cause painful heavy bleeding.
Apart from that, when it comes to exercising during periods, the guideline is simple - if you can handle it, you should go ahead and do it.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
There are certain glands in the vaginal walls and uterine cervix of a woman, which cleanse the vagina by producing a small amount of fluid. This clear or milky white coloured vaginal discharge is normal for a healthy woman if it doesn’t smell unpleasant. But if you observe that the colour, consistency, odour or amount of your vaginal discharge differs from usual, it may indicate an infection or a disease.
Here are 6 common factors behind abnormal vaginal discharge.
1. Bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a medical condition characterised by agray discharge, which has a lingering fish-like odour. Moreover, if you experience irritation and burning sensation in the vagina, which is increased by intercourse, it’s a strong indication of bacterial vaginosis.
2. Yeast Infection
It often happens that your vaginal area’s natural bacterial balance is disturbed due to certain factors such as use of antibiotics, decreased immunity, stress, uncontrolled diabetes or consumption of excessive sugary foods. This results in yeast overgrowth in the vagina, known as simply yeast infection or candidiasis. It’s characterised by a thick and whitish-grey discharge from the vagina.
Caused by the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoea, this sexually transmitted disease (STD) is an infection, which causes vaginal discharge of an intense odour. Other symptoms of this disease include feeling of pain while urinating, chills, fever and irregular discharge of menstrual fluids. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can transform into a pelvic inflammatory disease and can even lead to infertility.
4. Genital Herpes
Genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that leads to formation of small watery blisters on the vaginal area, and causes irritation, itching and pain while having intercourse or urinating, may also be the cause of a vaginal discharge of watery texture.
5. Atrophic Vaginitis
After menopause, there’s a considerable decrease in oestrogen levels of the body along with the occurrence of changes in tissues of the vaginal cavity. This medical condition, known as atrophic vaginitis, can lead to a watery vaginal discharge, which can sometimes get bloody. Some other symptoms of this disease are vaginal inflammation and thinning or atrophy of tissues.
6. Infected IUD
In some situations, it may happen that the intrauterine device (IUD- a form of contraceptive) inserted in the body of a woman can get infected. This results in a purulent discharge (pus) from the vagina. Getting the IUD removed as soon as possible is the best thing to be done in this situation. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Vulvodynia refers to a condition in which you have chronic pain near your vaginal opening. This area is known as the vulva. Vulvodynia is an extremely painful condition which also causes a lot of irritation and burning in the vulva. There is no known cause of vulvodynia and it has been said that vulvodynia can go on for months or even years. It is such a painful condition that having sex or even sitting down for extended periods will be troublesome for you.
Here is everything you need to know about Vulvodynia.
There is only one symptom of vulvodynia and that is when there is pain in your genital area. However, the type of pain you experience may be characterized by burning, stinging or itching among other sensations.
The cause of vulvodynia is not yet known. However, there are certain factors which increase the risk of contracting vulvodynia. Here are the factors.
- Injury or irritation to the nerves around the vulva.
- Vaginal infections
- Sensitive skin
- Changes in hormone levels
Vulvodynia itself cannot be cured, only the symptoms of vulvodynia can be relieved. Relieving symptoms is not a very quick process either as it takes weeks and sometimes even months for the symptoms to
improve. Some of the treatments which can be used to treat vulvodynia include.
- Medicines: Certain medicines relieve the symptoms which vulvodynia causes. These medicines include steroids and anticonvulsants so that your pain will be reduced. Antihistamines are known to reduce itching.
- Surgery: When vulvodynia is localized to a particular area, surgery can be used to remove the skin and tissue of the area which has been affected by vulvodynia.
- Anesthetics: Local anesthetics can be given so that your pain is reduced for a short while. A good time to apply local anesthetics would be 30 minutes before having sexual intercourse. This is because most local anesthetics used to treat vulvodynia come in the form of ointments. If your partner comes in contact with this ointment, then he will also be feeling numb.
- Pelvic floor therapy: Many times, vulvodynia is caused by the tension in the muscles of the pelvic floor. Exercises to relieve those muscles often ease the pain caused by vulvodynia. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
The uterus is a muscular structure held in place inside your pelvis with the help of muscles, ligaments, and tissues. These muscles weaken in women due to pregnancy, childbirth or delivery complications and can lead to severe complications. One such complication is a uterine prolapse. Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus sags or slips from its normal position into the vaginal canal.
The causes of uterine prolapse are varied and include:
- Delivering a large baby
- Difficulty in labor and delivery
- Reduction in estrogen levels post menopause
- Traumatic childbirth
- Loss or weakening of the pelvic muscle
- Conditions which lead to increased pressure in the abdominal area such as a chronic cough, straining, pelvic tumors or accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Loss of external support due to major surgery in pelvic area
Uterine prolapse can be complete or incomplete depending on how far the uterus sags into the vagina. Women who have minor uterine prolapse may not have any visible symptoms. However, if the condition worsens, it manifests itself in visible signs.
Symptoms of moderate or severe prolapse are:
1. A feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis when you sit
2. Seeing the uterus or cervix coming out of the vagina
3. Vaginal bleeding or increased discharge
4. Painful sexual intercourse
5. Recurrent bladder infections
6. Continuing back pain with difficulty in walking, urinating and moving your bowels
Without proper attention, the condition can cause impairments in the bowel, and can also affect bladder and sexual function.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Are you a woman suffering from diabetes? Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which your blood sugar levels shoot up because of problems in the processing and production of insulin. Diabetes occurs in both men and women. However, there are some primary differences and contrasts between diabetes in men and in women.
The symptoms of diabetes in women are almost the same as those in men, except for some unique symptoms pertaining only to women, which include the following:
- Development of oral and vaginal yeast infections, along with vaginal thrush
- Urinary infections
- Sexual dysfunction
- Development of polycystic ovary syndrome
The common, general symptoms found in both men and women include a frequent urge for urination, enhanced hunger and thirst, fatigue, blurry vision, and sudden gain or loss of weight without obvious causes. Skin infections, irritability, nausea, darkening of skin in patches, a reduced feeling in the hands and feet are other general symptoms.
Diabetes and pregnancy
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
If you are pregnant and have diabetes, you should consult your doctor to know about the best ways of managing your health, and the health of your baby. It is important to track down your blood glucose levels before and during your pregnancy. While you are pregnant, glucose and ketones reach your baby via the placenta, and the baby utilizes this as energy. As such, too high glucose levels may leave your baby at risk.
This form of diabetes occurs in 9% of pregnancies in which the pregnancy hormones interfere with how insulin works. This results in the body making more insulin. In some women, the insulin produced is not enough and therefore, gestational diabetes develops.
Women are more prone to diabetes when the following factors are present:
- If you are above the age of 45
- If you are obese and have a family history of diabetes
- If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds
- If you have hypertension or high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- If you are not into any form of exercise
- If you suffer from other health conditions, which are linked with insulin problems like PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, or are having a history of stroke and heart diseases
There are certain prominent differences between diabetes occurring in men and women. Women receive less aggressive treatment for other conditions associated with diabetes. The complications caused in women because of diabetes are more challenging to diagnose properly. Moreover, the hormones and inflammation also work differently in the case of women. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
There are technical ways in which you can get your body all set for labour. Although you may not know how your labour will progress, you can ease the pain that you experience during childbirth to a significant extent by doing these four exercises:
1. Kegel Exercises: These exercises target the muscles that provide support to your bladder, uterus, urethra and rectum. By strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor, these exercises help in improving the flow of blood to your vaginal and rectal area. Kegel exercises involve contracting of the muscles of your pelvic floor as you would do if you had to prevent passing urine or stool. It is also known to reduce the duration of the pushing stage of childbirth, which is the second stage. You can do the exercises sitting or standing and in either of the two ways-
Slow kegels: For this, contract the muscles of your pelvic floor and hold them for 3-10 seconds. Release and repeat the exercise for ten times.
Fast kegels: To do this, you need to contract and loosen up your pelvic muscles 25-50 times. Do the set for about 4 times with 5 seconds interval between each set.
2. Squatting: Practising squatting during your pregnancy can help in preparing your pelvic muscles for labour. While strengthening your thighs, it opens up your pelvis for an easy descent of the baby. So, here’s what you should do:
1. Begin by standing behind a chair for support with your feet wide apart
2. While contracting your abdominal muscles, relax your shoulders and chest before lowering your tailbone towards the floor
3. While inhaling and exhaling deeply, push into your legs and go back into a standing position
3. Pelvic Tilt: This exercise helps in strengthening the muscles of your back, pelvis and thigh regions while improving posture. Ensuring your pelvic joints remain flexible, it eases the pain experienced during delivery. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Get down on both your hands and knees while keeping your head in a parallel position with your back
2. While arching your back, pull in your stomach
3. Hold this position for a few seconds before releasing
The exercise needs to be repeated 3-5 times - all the while maintaining a strong hold over your back and stomach.
4. Tailor Pose: The tailor pose is designed to help relax your hip joints as well as open up the pelvis. It also helps in improving your body posture while easing the aches that occur in the lower part of your back. For this, you need to perform the following steps:
1. While keeping your back straight, sit comfortably on the floor
2. Placing the soles of both the feet together, press your knees gently towards the floor
3. Keep the position for 10-15 seconds. You can repeat the exercise for 5-10 times. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Premature labor is also known as preterm labor. This is the term given when the body gets ready for an early delivery in the pregnancy. Labor is considered to be premature if it starts almost three weeks prior to the due date. Premature labor usually leads to early birth, but now this can be delayed with medical help. It is better that the baby grows inside you because there are fewer chances of problems after birth.
Risk of Preterm Labor:
Some of the things which can increase the risk of a preterm labor are:
- Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
- Poor prenatal care
- Use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy
- Health conditions such as preeclampsia, infections, diabetes, high blood pressure and clotting disorders
- Pregnant with a bay with birth defects
- Getting pregnant through vitro fertilization
- Pregnant with multiples like twins and triplets
- Becoming pregnant soon after having a baby
Symptoms of preterm labor:
Warning signs should be heeded to stop the stop premature labor, as acting quickly can help. Consult your doctor or midwife immediately in case you have the following:
- Backache, especially in the lower back. Back ache can be a constant feature or might keep coming in intervals; but does not change with a change in position.
- Contractions that take place in each 10 minutes
- A leaking feeling in the vagina or fluid leakage from the vagina
- Cramps in the lower abdomen very similar to menstrual cramps. These usually give a feeling of gas pains and come with a diarrhea
- Symptoms of flu like vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Must to see a doctor if the liquids cannot be tolerated for more than 8 hours
- The pressure in the vagina or pelvis increases
- Vaginal discharge increases
- There might be light bleeding from the vagina
Ways to check for Contractions
To spot and early labor one must be sure to check for the contractions. Contractions can be checked by the following:
- When the fingertips are placed on the abdomen and the uterus feels too soft or tight then these are contractions.
- Contractions if felt, should be timed and the starting time of these should be noted.
- Contractions should be stopped by changing the position and drinking some water or by walking around
- Doctor or midwife should be contacted if the contractions occur every 10 minutes and the symptoms worsen
Sometime women might experience false labor also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These are not so strong, are erratic and stop on moving around.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer which occurs due to the development of cancerous cells in a person's breasts. Women are usually affected by breast cancer and breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer after skin cancer. Usually fatal if not diagnosed in its early stage, breast cancer is a very serious medical ailment. Read on more to find all about the different symptoms, causes, preventive measures and treatment of breast cancer.
Breast cancer has a few distinct characteristics and if you have a few or all the following symptoms you could be more likely to suffer from breast cancer.
- The formation of a lump in your breast which is different from the surrounding tissue and usually more thickened.
- The discharge of bloody fluid material from the nipples.
- Sudden change of the size, shape and appearance of the breast.
- Certain distinct changes to the skin over the breast for example an indentation in the skin similar to that of a dimple.
- Appearance of an extra nipple which is inverted.
- If the darkened area around the nipples known as the areola is flaking or peeling off.
Studies and researches remain inconclusive on what causes breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs due to abnormal division of the cells located in the breast which over time accumulate and form lumps. They
might spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is caused mainly due to a complex interaction of personal genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Breast cancer can also be caused due to genetics as about 5% to 10% of cases are due to gene mutations which pass onto generations.
There are certain factors which increase the probability of contracting breast cancer. Increasing age, personal and family history of breast cancer, obesity, radiation exposure, pregnancy at an older age, post-menopausal hormone therapy are some of the factors that increase the chances of breast cancer.
Several forms of surgical methods exist to treat breast cancer. Depending on the condition and spread of the disease a suitable surgery is performed. These include mastectomy, lumpectomy, axillary lymph node dissection and removal of both breasts. Other forms of treatment include chemotherapy or the use of high doses of drugs to destroy cancerous cells. Radiation therapy where X-rays are used to destroy the cancer cells is also effective. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Vaginal bleeding stands for blood loss from the vagina (including the vaginal wall) or uterus. Marking the beginning of a new reproductive cycle, normal vaginal bleeding (menstruation) takes place every 21-35 days.
It is regarded abnormal if it takes place
- Outside of your normal menstruation period
- When you’re pregnant
- After menopause
- Menstrual flow is heavier or lighter than normal
Common Causes of Unexpected Vaginal Bleeding:
1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
If your body’s hormone production is out of balance, it brings about a disruption in the normal ovulation (monthly discharge of an egg) cycle, causing abnormal vaginal bleeding.
2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Infection or inflammation of the female reproductive organs namely, uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes as a result of sexually transmitted bacteria can lead to abnormal bleeding. The problem occurs when the bacterial infection spreads from the vagina into these parts of the reproductive system. More importantly, inflammation of these areas can also bring about vaginal bleeding particularly after sexual intercourse.
3. Intrauterine Device (IUD)
The use of Intrauterine Device (a birth control tool that is inserted into the uterus to prevent future pregnancy) can also cause vaginal bleeding like spotting (light bleeding between periods) or heavy periods.
Any hormonal medications, containing Estrogen or Progesterone (eg: certain birth control pills), when taken irregularly or indiscriminately, may lead to hormonal imbalance, leading to abnormal bleeding.
5. Early Pregnancy
Another very important cause of abnormal bleeding in women of reproductive age group is - Pregnancy. Any abnormal pregnancy or early pregnancy with certain defects, can lead to abnormal bleeding even though you may not yet be aware of the pregnancy. Usually, it is the first condition to be investigated in a woman with abnormal uterine bleeding, in reproductive age group.
Apart from these common causes, abnormal vaginal bleeding can also happen due to:
6. Thyroid Disorders
Changes in your menstrual cycle as a result of the hormonal imbalance brought on by an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to irregular bleeding patterns.
7. Uterine fibroids
Abnormal growths in the uterus or on its surface can lead to unexpected vaginal bleeding (longer or heavier periods and bleeding between periods).
8. Cancer of the reproductive organs
Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, vagina or cervix is also known to be an uncommon cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding. The blood loss can take place after sexual intercourse or between one menstrual cycle and the next.