Women’s health: symptoms and remedies

There are numerous changes that a woman’s body goes through over the years. Some can be cured at home while others need to be examined and medicated only after a visit to the Gynaecologist.

Here are a few basic issues faced by women, their symptoms and their mode of treatment

1. Mid cycle spotting (Mittelmisch): It is not very common but occasionally some women may experience spotting or light bleeding which may last for a day or two. This is known to happen at the time of ovulation. Keep a calendar of this event. Whenever you visit your gynaecologist next time you can cross check with her. There is no need to panic but if one experiences bleeding any time in the menstrual cycle like, a few days after completion of periods or spotting 5-6 days prior to your expected period date , consistently then it’s important to consult the doctor for examination and sonography of the pelvis. Bleeding after sex should not be ignored and urgent medical advice need to be taken.

2. Skipped periods: The most common cause of missing periods in a woman who is sexually active is pregnancy. Please do a home pregnancy test with the first morning sample using urine pregnancy kits available over the counter as per instructions. If the test is negative then, you can wait for 10-14 days for them to start naturally. If it’s the first time then keep the record of period dates for the next 3 cycles. If pattern shows persistent skipping then consult the gynaecologist to check for hormonal imbalance.

3. Breast tenderness: It can be very distressing and make us anxious due to fear of cancer of the breast. Usually it is associated with hormonal issues and rarely with cancer. Examination of self breast ideally should be done by every woman each month. Do it to rule out any lump or bump in the breast. Try to find whether breast tenderness or pain has a pattern or its relation with periods over next one or two cycles. This will confirm hormonal issues or pre menstrual problems. One can take paracetamol if pain is bad and avoid visiting a gynaecologist. If you notice any lump then it will be necessary to visit the doctor for further examinations and tests.

4. Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: These are known common issues of healthy pregnancy which usually make life difficult for a new mother. Having one or two vomiting is usually manageable but excess can be distressing. Eating what one desires and small frequent meals are important . Early morning nibble of dry toast or ginger biscuit or Glucose biscuit even before brushing teeth helps in morning sickness. Keeping busy in your day to day work acts like a distraction and helps pregnant women to divert her mind from these symptoms. Taking a supplement of coconut water, lime juice or Electoral powder solution helps to prevent loss of electrolytes which can happen after vomiting and it helps to maintain hydration. If vomiting exceeds 5 to 6 per day then it will be wiser to take anti sickness tablets after consulting an obstetrician.

5. Burning sensation while passing urine: It may be an early sign of urine infection. Increase oral fluid intake to 3-3.5 litres/day atleast. Don’t hold urine for a long time . Include coconut water or Cranberry juice or Barley water in your diet. Avoid sexual activity till the problem resolves. If no relief then please do urine test and seek medical help.

6. Discomfort in abdomen in pregnancy: Usually the aches and discomfort start in pregnancy from 5 to 6 months onwards till the delivery. The discomfort in the upper central part of the tummy is most of the time due to reflux or acidity. Drinking cold milk or ice-cream can relieve it. Oral Antacid syrup will give instant results. Constipation is one of the common problems in pregnancy and can give rise to discomfort in the lower tummy more on the left hand side. Having a healthy diet with good fibre will help. Soaking husk or Isobgol with warm water or milk and drinking before bed will regularise bowel movements. Pain in the abdomen in pregnancy if not relieved with these common measures or by rest needs to be taken seriously and an obstetrician should be consulted.

Inputs by Dr. Vaishali Joshi, a senior Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital