On Wednesday, PSRI Hospital organised an online zoom session on women's health at 12:30 pm. The session was led by Dr Rahul Manchanda, a senior consultant and endoscopic gynaecologist who focused on creating awareness about poly-cystic ovarian disease (PCOD) and menopause-related issues.
While highlighting the importance of women's health, Dr Manchanda said, "Healthy women build a healthy nation." Women have specific health issues like pregnancy, menopause, breast cancer, cervical cancer, PCOD & PCOS. To top that, female bodies react differently to health issues common to both men and women.
To understand women's health, the curtain of misconceptions have to be lowered and that’s what Dr Manchanda did throughout the session with the help of a presentation. In the presentation, he highlighted that 68% women suffer from lifestyle diseases because of their work, sleep, eating and drinking habits.
Explaining PCOD, Dr Manchanda said, "Poly-cystic ovarian disease is a common condition affecting 5% to 10% of women in the 12–45 years of age group. Women's hormones are imbalanced due to this. It can cause problems with menstruation and make it difficult for them to conceive. The principal features include no ovulation, irregular periods, acne and hirsutism (excessive hair growth). If not treated, it can cause insulin-resistant diabetes, weight gain, obesity and high cholesterol leading to heart diseases."
The doctor said that the condition is a lifestyle disorder, and can be treated to reverse naturally. He highlighted the factors that are responsible for causing PCOD. These factors include insulin resistance, obesity, accumulation of toxins, weakened immune system, dietary choices, and genetic tendency.
Dr Manchanda said, "It's important to exercise and meditate daily, the intake of junk should be minimised as much as possible, one should intake a balanced diet that includes A-Z nutrients, and it's necessary to maintain a constant sleep-eat cycle to maintain a healthy body."
Further, he talked about methods of diagnosing PCOD that include ultrasound as well and asked women to keep a close check. "If there is any fluctuation in the frequency of periods, blood flow, excessive hair growth, sudden fluctuations in body weight and acne then it's important to consult the doctor," he added.
A PCOD diet should include the following foods: natural and unprocessed food, high-fibre food, fatty fish including salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel, leafy greens like kale and spinach, dark red fruits such as red grapes, blueberries, blackberries and cherries, broccoli, cauliflower, dried beans, lentils and other legumes, healthful fats such as olive oil as well as avocados and coconuts, nuts including pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, dark chocolate in moderation and spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon.
Dr Manchanda differentiated between PCOD and PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). PCOS is an endocrine system disorder while PCOD is a condition developed by hormonal imbalance. PCOD can affect other organs and induce other syndromes and symptoms and that's when it becomes PCOS.
During the session, Dr Amit, a dermatologist, shared that many girls who have acne before menarche usually suffer from prepubertal PCOD. While talking about menopause, Dr Manchanda said, "It's a normal part of ageing for a woman and literally means ‘last period’. It is generally considered to be complete when a woman has not had a period for one year."
"Common symptoms include hot flashes, urinary problems, skin issues, osteoporosis and vaginal dryness. There may also be sleep disturbances. The combination of these symptoms can cause anxiety or depression," he added.
Simplifying the issues related to menopause, Dr Manchanda introduced "seven dwarfs of menopause - itchy, bitchy, sweaty, sleepy, bloated, forgetful and psycho". On the basis of statistics, he said that in India, the average age for menopause is 47.5 years.
He also shared basic lifestyle treatments that women can follow post-menopause to ease hot flashes. These include:
Dr Manchanda talked about the different kinds of cancers that can risk a woman's life. He talked about gynaecological cancers, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, and breast cancer.
The doctor said that women should check themselves every month for the signs and shared the symptoms of breast cancer that include swollen lymph nodes under the arm or around the collarbone, swelling of all or parts of the breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, redness, thickening of the nipple or breast skin and nipple discharge.
He said, "The best time to do a monthly self-breast exam is 3 to 5 days after your period starts. Do it at the same time every month. Your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle."
While concluding the session Dr Machanda wished the audience a happy world chocolate day and even spoke about mental health and how leading a good lifestyle can transform one’s life.