Women’s Health: Understanding Issues from Puberty to Menopause


Addressing the physical and mental health changes throughout their life cycle is a significant step required to empower women and help them understand how to take care of their health.

Addressing the physical and mental health changes throughout their life cycle is a significant step required to empower women and help them understand how to take care of their health.

(Lt Col) Dr. Leena N Sreedhar, HOD And Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, HOD Department Of Academics And Research, Manipal Hospital, Dwarka discusses women’s health

Women’s health experiences and challenges evolve throughout their lives, from the transformative period of puberty to the transition of menopause. Addressing the physical and mental health changes throughout their life cycle is a significant step required to empower women and help them understand how to take care of their health.

Puberty

At this stage, the body starts functioning like an adult. It starts releasing hormones and starts producing eggs. From age 10–14, the body starts showing the following signs:

  1. Changes in body shape, like breasts and hips
  2. Vaginal hair growth
  3. Heightened emotions
  4. Behaviour changes
  5. Attraction to the opposite sexPeriods usually occur after 2 years of puberty, and they can be initially painful. With this, they may experience emotional fluctuations, acne, and body image concerns.

    Managing changes during puberty:

  6. Talk about the changes openly with your parent or older sibling.
  7. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables to get iron, calcium, vitamins, etc., and avoid fatty and processed foods.
  8. Learn about hygiene during menstruation. Clean your vagina using water and avoid harsh soaps.

    Adolescence and young adulthood

    Age 15–25 is considered the transformation phase. In this, you’re trying to get comfortable with your body and figure out who you are.

    Wellness tips for adolescents and young adults:

  9. Do not let peer pressure affect you. If it does, then get help.
  10. Your mental health should be your priority.
  11. Don’t compromise on your sleep; it’s your body’s chance to recover.
  12. Focus on a balanced diet that works for your day.

    The health issues to look out for are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), which are the reasons for irregular or missed periods, weight gain, hair thinning, acne, and infertility. Both problems are easy to manage with lifestyle changes. With this, there is also a chance of an increase in breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer. It is important to raise awareness about women’s health and familiarise yourself with the cause and symptoms.

    Menopause

    It is the year after the last period. During this phase, women experience heavy and unexpected bleeding, and during this time, you should also look for uterine fibroids.

    During menopause, depression and anxiety become your companions, and to navigate through this time, you should have conversations with family and friends and ensure that you have a good lifestyle.

    Tips for a healthy lifestyle

  13. Health checkupIt will increase the chances of detecting any chronic disease early, which will in turn increase the chances of doing something about any health problem in the future.
  14. Good amount of quality sleepTo have a stress-free mind and a healthy body, always take the necessary amount of sleep.
  15. Eat healthy food and stay activeIndividuals should avoid fatty and processed foods and should have a diet that consists of more fruits and vegetables. Even 20 minutes of physical activity a day will keep your weight managed and your stress level maintained.



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