As women get older, not only do we go through various physical changes but also experience changes in our health. Just like any other medical condition, these changes shouldn’t be ignored. Gynecologists specialise in issues related to the female reproductive system. Hence, you shouldn’t just be consulting them when you’re expecting, but also when you’re in need of information regarding your normal bodily functions. To help all of you understand your health and bodies better, we had consultant gynaecologist, Dr. Madiha Khalid Mir at Mashion HQ this week. She answered your queries, debunked some misconceptions and taught us a lot about women’s health. In case you missed the session — here’s everything you need to know!
Diagnosing PCOS is very tricky as there is no single test for it. This is why the disorder can remain undiagnosed for a long period of time. It is usually identified by symptoms such as irregular periods, high levels of male hormones (testosterones) and 12 or more cysts on the ovaries. Some doctors rely on blood tests and ultrasounds to diagnose the condition, but many do it solely based on symptoms. Dr. Madiha says, an ultrasound may not always show cysts, and symptoms and hormonal levels are enough for a diagnosis.
Blood Tests For PCOS
Blood tests for diagnosing PCOS are carried out to assess hormone levels. Whether or not a woman has an excess of testosterone can be tested with the right blood test. As this hormonal disorder is linked with irregular periods, a doctor may test other reproductive hormones to diagnose the condition. Our expert recommends the following blood tests to identify PCOS: Lutenizing Hormone (LH), Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Serum Prolactin to be administered on the second day of your period. Women with PCOS, have high LH levels, low or normal FSH levels and normal TSH levels.
Period Cramps Can Get Serious
Period cramps are throbbing sensations in the lower abdomen, back, or thighs, felt just before or during menstruation. For some, they can simply be uncomfortable, but for others the cramps are extremely severe and unbearable. Since they’re a part of the menstruation process, they are often neglected, but severe cramps can be associated with medical conditions like endometriosis or adenomyosis. Our expert recommends consulting a gynecologist in cases of extreme pain. But before that she suggests noticing a few things like, whether the cramps are severe enough to interrupt your normal routine? Do they start before or with your period? Do you have to take painkillers and if so, does a single dose of painkillers relieve your cramps?
Relieving Period Pain
If they’re not severe, period cramps can be relieved at home with the help of painkillers or home remedies. If you prefer taking painkillers, our expert recommends Panadol, Ponstan Forte or Brufen. Additionally, placing a warm water bottle or a warm towel on your belly can also help ease cramps.
The Normal Menstrual Cycle
A menstrual cycle isn’t the same for every woman. The average menstrual cycle is about is 28 days long, but some women may experience it for shorter while others may have it for longer. How long the period lasts also varies. Having your period for 2-7 days is considered normal. Furthermore, the menstrual cycle changes with age. In the initial menstruating years, the cycle tends to be longer but it shortens and regulates over time. According to Dr. Madiha, the normal cycle is between 24 to 35 days and anything other than that is not normal and should be examined.
Measures To Take For UTI
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system — kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Women are at greater risk for developing this infection than men. Common symptoms of UTI include, a burning sensation while urinating, strong and frequent urge to urinate, urine with a strong odour and dark colour, and pelvic pain. For those dealing with a recurring infection, Dr. Madiha recommends getting urine cultures done and drinking at least 10 glasses of water daily.
Bilateral Cysts Are Not Associated With Food
Ovarian cysts are sacs of fluid that can develop on or inside the ovaries. They are quite common and are mostly harmless. They tend to resolve on their own, but sometimes they can cause pain and heavy bleeding. Unless someone suffers from PCOS, diet modifications, such as eating or avoiding certain foods doesn’t cause or treat ovarian cysts. “There is no association of any food with bilateral cysts, but if you have PCOS, then you should avoid eating chicken,” says our expert.
Chances Of Normal Delivery After A C-Section
Having a normal delivery after a C-section is a safe option for most women. A number of studies have found that 60-80% women, who have previously undergone caesarean birth can successfully give birth naturally. Dr. Madiha also ensures, “After one C-section you can have a normal delivery, however, the interval should be at least two years.”
Can C-Sections Weaken The Bladder?
While incontinence usually ends a few weeks after giving birth, some women may experience it up to a year after the delivery. Pregnancy, the type of delivery, and the number of children all contribute to the increased risk of incontinence. Contrary to popular belief, our expert says, “C-sections don’t make the bladder weak. It is actually the other way round — normal deliveries do.” She suggests that women experiencing weakness in their urinary tract should check their symptoms and consult a gynecologist.
The Right Way To Count When You’re Ovulating
Ovulation depends on the length of your menstrual cycle. According to Dr. Madiha, if you know your average menstrual cycle length, you can determine when you’ll ovulate. She explains the ovulation process: “Ovulation happens about 14 days before your period starts. If your average menstrual cycle is 28 days, you ovulate around day 14 and the 12th, 13th and 14th day is the most fertile.”