Being a woman of the house comes along with several responsibilities as everyone looks up to you. Between your job, household chores and taking care of loved ones, women often tend to ignore their own health and well being. Not taking proper care of yourself and letting your health take a back seat is not going to help you out in the long run. One needs to take care of themselves and hence there are some precautions that need to be taken. As we have stepped into the new year with new hopes and joys, here are a few things that all the women out there need to add to their self care list for better health. Dr. Ridhhima Shetty, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Kalina, Santacruz, Mumbai suggests 8 healthy habits that every woman should start practicing right from the start of the year to lead a healthy life.
#1. Track your Periods
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Periods is something that starts off from the time a girl hits puberty to the menopausal age of a woman. In today’s world where things planners and menstrual cycle tracking apps are gaining so much popularity, one must know why it is so important to keep a track of your menstrual cycle. Keeping a tab of your monthly cycle by observing the changes and documenting the dates can help you in numerous ways. Doing so will help you to
- Know when your periods are going to arrive so that aunt flo’s arrival is not a surprise for you and you could be well prepared.
- It will help you to detect conditions like PCOS
- It can help you to get pregnant and prevent pregnancy
- It can help you to understand and manage your mood
- It can help you to make the most of your workout and exercise routine
#2. Do self breast examination
With breast cancer being the second most common kind of cancer observed amongst women, it is important to detect it at an early stage so that suitable preventions can be taken and the issue can be cured. Self breast examination is a technique that a woman can follow on her own to observe the changes in her breasts and surrounding regions. This is done by regularly examining and feeling your breasts and looking out for any change or abnormality.
Doing a self examination on a monthly basis can help you to detect some changes or signs of breast cancer infection at an early stage. One can simply perform a self breast examination by following these simple steps-
- Take off your bra and stand in front of your mirror while visually inspecting your breasts and the area around it.
- Look for any changes in the shape or a possible appearance of some kind of lump or change in your skin or nipple.
- Raise your arms and look out for any suspicious lumpy formation around your armpits.
- Now take your hands and gently move them onto your breasts in a circular motion to look out for any possible lump formation.
#3. Visit your obgyn every year for a breast and pelvic check up
Getting regular checkups is really important to lead a healthy life as it helps you to diagnose the condition at an early stage. We all are aware of the old saying “prevention is better than cure” and these medical examinations and checkups are the best preventive measure one can take. Visiting your obgyn for a pelvic and breast examination can help you to prevent and treat severe conditions such as breast cancer, vaginosis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, etc.
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Breast screening is a technique used for the diagnosis of breast cancer which helps in an early detection and hence reduces the risk of further complications as a timely treatment can be provided.
A pelvic exam helps you to assess your gynecological health and to find the possible signs of conditions such as sexually stransmited infectiomns, cysts, cancer or uterine fibroids.
#4. Do a routine blood test and sonography every year
Getting a blood test done once in a while is a healthy habit that every woman must follow. The blood thicker than water has got many things to tell about your body and hence needs to be checked on a regular basis. Blood test can help you to know your body better and help you to detect underlying conditions such as-
- Coronary heart diseases
- Immune system disorder
- Nutritional deficiency
- Cholesterol levels
Where blood tests can tell you about various things going on in your body and help to alarm you about such chronic conditions at an early stage, it is important for you to go for regular blood tests and consult your doctor.
Apart from blood tests, sonography or ultrasound is another important diagnosis for women. This imaging technique uses high frequency sound waves to create the image of the internal organs and provides crucial information about your health. Sonography is a technique used for the diagnosis of various conditions including-
- Fetus development
- Detection of kidney stones
- Joint conditions
- Bone diseases
- Breast lumps
#7. Do a mammogram every year if you are over 40
A test screening method used for the detection of breast cancer, mammogram is done by compressing the patient’s breasts between two plates and scanning it via x-ray technique. This technique is helpful in identifying the cancer at an early stage which helps to treat it before it spreads any further and reduces the chances of further complications.
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The mammogram screening technique does not actually tell the presence of cancer or cancerous cells in the woman’s breast but is used to identify the formation of any unusual lump-like mass present in the breast region that could be a sign of breast cancer.
Women who are 40 or above should get a regular mammogram screening done. Other than this woman who has been diagnosed with breast irregularities during a breast examination, have tracked the progress of lumps or has had an abnormal mammogram before should also take this screening test regularly.
#5. Get your vaccination promptly
The entire world has surely understood about the importance of vaccination now with the emergence of pandemic due to the virus outbreak. Where getting a double dose of covid vaccine is important to reduce the severity of the deadly infection, it can also help to protect your loved ones from getting infected. Apart from the covid vaccine another shot that a woman must get is an HPV vaccine. HPV is a vaccine that helps to protect you from the Human Papillomavirus infection which tends to get transferred from one person to the other through skin to skin contact. This infection caused due to virus is one of the most common sexuallty transmitted diseases that has about 100+ varieties. Getting a jab of HPV vaccine can help you to prevent severe conditions such as cervical, genital, vulvar or anal v=cancer along wih some other chronic diseases.
#6. Get a pap smear every 3 years
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Pap smear or pap test that is also known as the papanicolaou test is a screening method used for the detection of cancer in colon or cervix area. This test takes place by using a small brush to lightly remove the cells from the surface of the cervix which is then observed under a microscope to see any possible cancer growth. Not just cancer but this technique also helps to detect conditions such as inflammation or infection. Not just cervix and colon but this diagnosis technique also helps to keep a check on the health of your reproductive organs such as vulva, vagina, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, etc.
Women who fall in the age bracket of 21 to 65 years should get this test done once in every three years.
#8. Protect yourself from infection
With the virus outbreak and emergence of pandemic, one thing that we all have learnt is to protect ourselves from infections as they can be life threatening at imes. One should take proper care of their hygiene habits and regularly use sanitizers, wear your mask and maintain social distancing. This would not just help you but will also protect your family from the deadly virus and keep you safe.
(This article is based upon an article by Dr. Ridhhima Shetty, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Kalina, Santacruz, Mumbai on her instagram handle)