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Carcinoma of cervix (mouth of uterus) is the most common cancer in Indian women and also the most common cause of cancer related deaths in Indian women.
- But fortunately it is a relatively slow progressive in initial stages and if detected during those stages, then cancer related mortality is almost negligible.Good news is that, now we have vaccine against the causative human papilloma virus, which can prevent carcinoma cervix in a large number of patients if given preferably prior to first sexual relationship.
Get human papilloma virus vaccine at earliest, before entering into a sexual relationship
- It is better to complete family before 35 year of age preferably 30 year, as risk of one of the most common chromosomal anomaly DOWN SYNDROME starts increasing in the baby with growing maternal age.This genetic disorder is caused due to an extra 21 number chromosome in the baby and results in mental retardation and other systemic abnormalities in baby.This can be ruled out in a large number of cases during pregnancy using ultrasound studies, special blood tests (triple and quadruple test ), and amniocentesis in those case where degree of suspicion is very high.
- If you are having excessive body hair (hirsutism), excessive weight gain, difficulty in conceiving, irregular or absent menstrual cycles, then get yourself examined from a gynecologist as you might be suffering from a common problem called polycystic ovarian syndrome.
An ultrasound will be required along with necessary blood tests.Patients with PCOD have high chances of developing diabetes, hypertension, and lipid disorders along with infertility. Treatment can help in these cases if timely given.
- Carcinoma of breast is a common cancer in women.
All women above 40 year of age should go for an annual breast examination and if suggested mammogram (X-ray study of breast).All women should do regular self examination of their breast looking for any dimpling of skin, any redness and excoriation of skin of breast, nipple and areola, press your nipple to look for any discharge especially bloody discharge, feel your breast for any firm fix nodules in the breast.Any new development should alarm you and should take an expert opinion.You have high risk of developing breast cancer if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, had early menarche( start of menses before 12 year) or delayed menopause ( later than 55 year of age), you are taking hormone replacement therapy for menopause, oral contraceptives, advanced age, alcohol consumption etc.
- Consumption of alcohol, smoking, having multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex are high risk behavior for women, which predispose to many problems including high risk for carcinoma cervix, carcinoma breast, HIV, Human papilloma virus infection, unplanned pregnancies, congenital abnormalities in babies etc. pregnant women especially avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Emergency contraceptive pills are safe to use, but should not be used indiscriminately.
It should only be used as an emergency measure in case of failure of regular contraceptive, forced sex etc.
These tablets are to be taken as early as possible after unprotected sex preferably within first 24 hours. They can be taken up to 72 hours, but efficacy reduces as time passes.
You can have an early or slightly delayed periods after taking these pills but if your periods are delayed more than one week than you should get pregnancy test done or consult your gynecologist.
Breast feeding mothers also can use this method. But one word of caution these tablets are not going to save from risk of HIV (AIDS), sexually transmitted diseases and are not going to give you 100%.
- Medical termination of pregnancy or abortions should not be taken lightly.
They are safe but associated with certain risks and complications. In this procedure mouth of the uterus is dilated and then uterine lining is removed with a curette and aspirated with a suction machine.
MTP should always be done by a qualified doctor authorized to do the procedure in a govt. approved centre. Should never be done by any unqualified person.
There is risk of perforation of uterus, irregular bleeding, infections and secondary infertility. Decision regarding abortions should not be taken casually. Sometime consequences can be long term including risk to life.
Always take contraceptive precaution and in case of unprotected sex emergency contraceptives are better choice then undergoing abortions.
- Medical abortion or drug induced abortion is not same as emergency contraceptives.
Abortion drugs work once the pregnancy is established i.e. fertilized ova is attached to uterus wall.
This is an option within 8 weeks of your last menstrual period. In this you are given one type of tablets under supervision in clinic after verifying duration of your pregnant with ultrasound and checking your medical history for any contra indication. Second medicine you take at home within 24-72 hour of first medication. You usually abort within 8-12 hours of taking second medicine.
You can have severe bleeding, spotting, abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea or loose motions after taking the second dose. Most of the time symptoms are mild but they can be severe also.
You should never try to take these medications without medical supervision and guidance.
In some case doctor may have to perform surgical abortion with aspiration if products are not expelled completely or in cases of heavy bleeding.Bleeding is usually more in case of medicinal abortion then surgical abortion.
- Smoking is injurious for health, whether by a man or a woman. Woman who smokes has a higher risk for cancer of lung. Now in some nations carcinoma of lung is causing more deaths in women then carcinoma breast. Smoking also causes chronic bronchitis. Infertility is common. Smoking increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight of baby, sudden infant death syndrome in babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy. If you are on oral contraceptives than your risk of strokes, cardiac complications and thrombosis of blood vessels increase significantly, if you are also a smoker. Smoking is addicting and bad for you as well as your baby as the risk of birth abnormalities also increase significantly. Infantile colic are more frequent in babies born to mothers who smoke.
- Alcohol has more and faster effect on women. Alcohol consumption is known to cause liver damage (cirrhosis of liver), increases the chances of certain cancers, ulcers, menstrual disorders and difficulty in conceiving. Alcohol consumption leads to loss of inhibition and hence more chances of risky sexual behavior including unprotected unplanned sex.
Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is associated with serious long term consequences for the baby including birth defects, poor development of brain, severe behavioral problems, learning disabilities and attention deficit in the baby. Bad news is, these effects are permanent in baby. So it is strongly recommended that women who intend to become pregnant should stop drinking, before planning to start family. So by drinking during pregnancy a woman risks sentencing her child with a life of pain and suffering.