Women never have it easy and when it comes to the matters of health and hormones they have to endure the tortures lifelong. Right from puberty to periods to pregnancy to menopause a woman is constantly struggling to attain a balance with her notorious hormones and her life. Of course, these hormones are not to be blamed as they are only functioning a certain way to ensure that a woman’s physiological and psychological health is balanced and stable. But the fallouts like mood swings, fatigue, lethargy is too much to deal with. While we all speak about how the hormones govern every bit of a woman’s life – puberty, pregnancy, menopause – not much is spoken about a particularly important phase of her life again ruled by the hormones – perimenopause.
In fact, Dr Veena aurangabadwala, Gynecologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur, says, ‘Many people think that this phase is one of the most relaxing phases for a woman but in reality, this is the time when many health issues crop up, especially if the woman is ignorant about her health. In fact, a midlife crisis is not a myth but a reality for women facing perimenopause.’
Dr Veena cautions that during this period a lot of health issues and complaints are seen among women.
Health and you
According to Dr Veena, this is also the time when 30-40 per cent of women develop benign conditions such as fibroids in the uterus/breasts, cysts in the breasts causing some or no symptoms. Some of them also develop menstrual irregularities which can be either stress induced or due to hormonal change. Women do experience extremes of mood swings, hot flashes, phases of depression, loosening of the abdominal skin, bloating, vaginal and at times urinary symptoms too. But they may also be a sign of the most dreaded precancerous or cancerous changes in the reproductive organs. It is important to seek medical attention of a specialist, to rule out possible cancerous changes and treat these conditions by medications, or surgically (if required).
What she can do
In the light of increasing sporadic (not inherited) incidence of breast cancers, and the less aggressive cervical cancer, all women above the age of 40 years, must get their Pap smears and Mammography done at regular intervals of 1-3 yrs (based on familial risk factors). All women must know the technique of Self Breast Examination (SBE). A health check-up once in a year or two (including these screening tests) will help us women stay fit and help identify any new medical conditions requiring attention. A healthy Midlife can make a richer and healthier second innings.