Her Health: Helping Women Keep Their Health On Track

Four renowned doctors share their insights on helping women navigate health concerns. 

Get Ahead Of Cervical Cancer 

Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, MD (Obstetrics and Gynecology), FICS (Gynae Endoscopy), FICOG; Head of the Department (OBGYN) & Chief – IVF & Endoscopy Centre, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune; Advisor & Consultant, Dr DY Patil IVF & Endoscopy Center, Pune; Founder & Medical Director, Solo Clinic IVF – A Centre for Excellence in Infertility, Pune; Founder & Medical Director, Solo Stem Cells – A Stem Cell Research & Application Center, Pune; President Elect – FOGSI 2025; Chairperson, Founder, Honorary Secretary – ISAR (MSR); Second Vice-President – ISAR.

Despite strides in screening and treatment, cervical cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women globally. Yet, hope lies in prevention strategies, notably vaccination and early detection.

Primarily caused by persistent infection with certain human papillomavirus (HPV) strains, cervical cancer is preventable. While most sexually active individuals contract HPV at some point, the immune system can clear the infection. However, prolonged infection with high-risk HPV strains can lead to cervical cancer over time. HPV vaccines are both safe and highly effective in preventing infection with the most common cancer-causing HPV strains. Regular cervical cancer screening utilizing Pap smears, alongside HPV tests, aid in detecting abnormal cervical changes before cancer manifests or diagnosing it at an early, treatable stage. Screening frequency varies based on age and risk, with guidelines recommending initiation at 25 and continuation until 65. Raising awareness about prevention and screening, especially in communities facing healthcare access challenges, plays a pivotal role. Educating women and healthcare providers on vaccination benefits and regular screening’s life-saving potential can alleviate cervical cancer’s burden.

Maintaining and improving nutrition style is essential for prevention of cervical as well as other types of cancers. The important role of antioxidant vitamins in preventing the development of cancer has received much attention. Vitamins such as A, C, D & E hold a rather great share in cancer prevention. Anti-inflammatory foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and probiotics are key components to prevent the progression of HPV infection to cervical and other types of cancers.

Healthy Aging In Women

Dr Kundan Ingale, Consultant and Director of Nirmiti Clinic – A Center for Assisted Reproduction and Endoscopy at Chinchwad, Pune; Head of Dept at Vishwaraj IVF Center at Hadapsar, Pune; Chairperson of Infertility Committee of FOGSI from 2020-23; Consultant at Surya Mother and Childcare Superspeciality Hospital at Hinjewadi, Pune; Chairperson of Endocrinology Committee of AMOGS for year 2024-26; Office Bearer of Maharashtra chapter of ISAR.

Aging is an inevitable and natural part of life, and for women, navigating this journey with a focus on well-being is key to ensuring a fulfilling and vibrant existence. The prevalence of aging is increasing globally, with a growing population of older women. As women age, they encounter age-related challenges that are both prevalent and impactful. Worldwide, osteoporosis affects one in three women over 50, increasing the risk of fractures and compromising mobility. Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of mortality among women, demanding attention to heart health as they age. Cognitive decline, depression, and social isolation are also common, highlighting the need for a holistic approach to women’s health across all age brackets.

Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that includes attention to nutrition, lifestyle changes, and access to healthcare. Micronutrients, essential vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in promoting women’s health across the lifespan. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake support bone health, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to cardiovascular health and cognitive function, while antioxidants like vitamins C and E protect against oxidative stress and cognitive decline. The synergy of these micronutrients, combined with lifestyle changes, forms a powerful strategy for healthy aging. Regular physical activity, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, stress management techniques, and fostering social connections all contribute to a holistic and proactive approach to aging well.

PCOS: Balancing Hormones For A Healthier Future

Dr Mala Raj, MBBS; DGO; FICOG; Dip In Advanced Lap Surg; Dip In Reprod Med; Founder Secretary – IAGE, Tamil Nadu Chapter; Managing Council Member – IAGE; Treasurer – OGSSI (2024); Joint Secretary – Chennai Menopause Society (2023-2025); Past Secretary of IMS, Chennai Chapter (2010-2012); Best Doctor Award from Tamil Nadu MGR University; Currently Managing Director of Firm Hospitals.

Despite its widespread occurrence, PCOS remains underdiagnosed and often misunderstood, leading to delayed or inadequate treatment. PCOS presents a spectrum of challenges that can affect various aspects of a woman’s life – irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, and the development of cysts in the ovaries. Additionally, individuals with PCOS often experience hormonal imbalances leading to symptoms such as acne, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), weight gain, and insulin resistance. These factors not only impact physical health, but can also take a toll on mental well-being, contributing to stress, anxiety, and a diminished quality of life.

Navigating PCOS requires a comprehensive approach that addresses its multifaceted nature. 

The challenges faced by women with PCOS extend beyond the physical symptoms, emphasising the need for a holistic perspective that encompasses both the physiological and psychological aspects of health. Micronutrients and lifestyle changes play a crucial role in managing PCOS and mitigating its symptoms. Adequate intake of key nutrients like vitamin D, inositol, and Omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance in individuals with PCOS. Lifestyle modifications, including regular physical activity and a balanced diet, can aid in weight management and contribute to better overall health.

PMS & Power Of Nutritional Awareness

Dr Jyothi Budi, Medical Director of Ferty9 Fertility Center & 7 centers across Telangana & Andhra Pradesh; Joint Secretary – Indian Society of Reproductive Medicine, Telangana; MS in Reproductive Medicine, UK; Diploma in Reproductive Medicine, Germany; Advanced IVF trained from Dubai; Conducting IVF training program with FOGSI  and IMA for 7 years and has trained 200 plus gynaecologists; IFS Certified Clinical Embryologist; Under her leadership, Economic Times awarded Ferty9 as the BEST INTEGRATED IVF chain of the South – 2022. 

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that many women get after ovulation, and a week before the start of their menstrual period. Common PMS symptoms include mood swings, depression, irritability, abdominal cramps, headache, generalised pain, abdominal bloating, swollen breasts and appetite changes. PMS is closely associated with mood disorders through estrogen-serotonin regulation. As many as three in four women say they get PMS symptoms at some point in their reproductive age. In 3% to 8% women, the syndrome is severe enough to affect their activities and social communication. This condition is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMS symptoms may get worse as you reach your late 30s or 40s and approach menopause. PMS exacerbates some medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome and bowel/ bladder diseases. Certain vitamins and minerals may help relieve some PMS symptoms. For instance, magnesium with vitamin B6 taken together reduces symptoms including moodiness, irritability, forgetfulness, bloating and anxiety.

Mild to moderate symptoms often can be relieved by lifestyle modifications. Here are some tips:

  • Consume small frequent meals rich in complex carbohydrates to boost serotonin production.
  • Take vitamins and minerals in optimum amounts under a physician’s guidance.
  • Add calcium-rich foods, like yogurt and leafy green vegetables, to your diet.
  • Reduce or eliminate the intake of salt, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly. Try aerobic exercises – which includes brisk walking, running, cycling or swimming – for 30 minutes.
  • Avoid stressful events.
  • Maintain healthy sleeping habits. 

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