From bad period cramps to Urinary Tract Infections, there are certain health concerns that are more relevant to women than men.
Today, we speak to Dr. Kalpana Ramasamy, one of our lead doctors on what she wants us to know about women health issues. With more than two decades of clinical experience, Dr. Kalpana has seen a variety of patients and treated an assortment of ailments. She shares her top tips for staying well.
There are various reasons for why your periods may be abnormal.
“Periods are a common health problem that my female patients consult me for,” says Dr. Kalpana. These include:
Amenorrhea: Missing one or more period, even though you’re not pregnant
Dysmenorrhea: Experiencing extremely painful periods, such as cramps that impede your daily activities
Menorrhagia: Having heavy bleeding during your period (i.e. bleeding that lasts more than 7 days or heavy flow that requires you to change your pad/tampon every 2 hours)
Polymenorrhea: Having periods that are more frequent than the typical menstrual cycle of 21 – 35 days
“There are several factors that can cause abnormalities in your period. This includes hormonal imbalance, endometriosis (which is a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of your uterus) or ovarian cysts,” lists Dr. Kalpana. “Apart from medical conditions, it could also be due to poor lifestyle habits and an imbalanced diet.”
As such, if you’re experiencing sudden changes in your period, it’s good to speak to a doctor to identify the cause so that it can be treated accordingly.
Don’t suffer painful periods in silence.
While it’s typical to experience some slight discomfort during our periods, painful periods are not the norm. There is cause for concern if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding or very bad cramps, especially if this had not occurred before.
“We may advise you to go for an ultrasound to check for fibroids or cysts,” says Dr. Kalpana.
Infections are more common than you think.
Another common reason for doctor visits amongst female patients is either Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or Pelvic inflammatory Disease (PID).
“UTIs are more common amongst women, as women have a shorter urinary tract than men,” says Dr. Kalpana. This means it’s easier for bacteria to enter one’s urinary tract, eventually causing an infection. About 50 – 80% of women may experience UTI once in their lifetime. “To reduce the occurrence of UTIs, hydrate regularly, avoid holding in your urine for prolonged periods, and do make sure to clean yourself after sexual intercourse.”
In general, PID refers to infection and inflammation of a women’s reproductive organs, including their uterus and vagina. Unlike UTIs, PID can be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI). “Unprotected sexual encounters, poor hygiene and an overuse of antibiotics may lead to PIDs,” says Dr. Kalpana.
Nothing beats a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
“While treating health conditions normally requires a multi-pronged approach, eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle are my key recommendations to staying well,” says Dr. Kalpana. This includes having a balanced diet that incorporates the right portions of different food groups (such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fruits and vegetables), getting enough quality sleep each night and exercising regularly.
“In addition to this, you should maintain good hygiene practises, as well as go for regular check-ups with your family doctor or gynaecologist.”
Feel free to ask us anything about your health.
Given the taboo around such topics, we may be embarrassed to ask questions relating to our sexual health. However, Dr. Kalpana believes that we should feel comfortable with asking more about our own bodies and health.
“I would encourage my patients to ask about what their healthy weight range should look like, contraceptive choices, questions around fertility issues or menstrual disorders,” suggests Dr. Kalpana. “Your doctor can also give you lifestyle and diet advice, so that you can achieve better health.”
If you’re feeling unwell or have noticed changes in your body that you’re concerned about, speak to a doctor anytime over the DA app. Our doctors are always here to help, with no judgment. If required, medication can be delivered to your door within three hours.