A gynaecologist sheds light on ways to deal with 5 common gynaecological problems

There are some common gynaecological issues that women have to deal with but understanding how to deal with them can make the situation manageable.

common gynecological problems
You need to understand your body to deal with some of the most common gynaecological issues! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Amodita Ahuja Updated on: 23 June 2021, 18:33 pm IST
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Every woman suffers from some gynaecological issue or the other during her lifetime. That being said, some issues are more common than others. Let’s discuss the most common issues that most women face and how to deal with them:

1. Urinary tract infections

It is believed that every woman has to deal with a UTI at least twice in her lifetime. Women are more prone to the infection due to a shorter urethra and closeness of the urethra to the vagina.

Practising the following methods can certainly reduce the risk of developing urinary tract infections:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids can be helpful. Try consuming 3 to 4 litres of liquids.
  • Make it a point to urinate after having intercourse.
  • Clean your vagina from front-to-back and never from back-to-front.
  • Avoid using diaphragms for birth control. Instead, use condoms for protection.
  • Avoid contact with the seat in public toilets. Try to use Indian-style toilets.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Avoid vaginal douching and intimate hygiene products.
gynaecological problems
Understand why women are more prone to UTIs and how to reduce the risk. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Irregular periods

Many women complain of irregular periods too. Periods that arrive before 21 days or later than 35 days are described as ‘irregular’. Some of the most common causes of irregular periods occur due to a hormonal imbalance such as polycystic ovaries, thyroid disorders or hyperprolactinemia. These disorders are lifestyle disorders that can occur due to physical inactivity, poor eating habits, drinking alcohol, smoking and stress.

The only way to treat such issues is to modify your lifestyle. Here are a few tips:

  • Eat healthy food that is rich in proteins but low in trans fats and sugars.
  • Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes at least 5 times a week. It can include Zumba, swimming, high-intensity cardio, and running. Basically, perform any exercise that can increase the heart rate.
  • Follow the sunrise and sunset routine. This means that you should consume your first meal after sunrise and the last meal before sunset.
  • Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Sleep for at least 8 hours. Make sure you’re asleep no later than 11 pm and get up no later than 8 am. Sleeping too late and waking up late can alter your circadian rhythm and hence, affect your hormonal balance.
  • Manage stress with activities such as meditation and yoga.
3. Vaginal infections

Vaginal infections are very common in Indian women because of the tropical climate. In addition, our spicy food habits cause an alteration in the vaginal pH. Such factors make Indian women more prone to infections. Usually, vaginal discharge is absolutely normal. However, if the discharge is smelly, has cottage cheese consistency, is accompanied by itching or is green, yellowish or blood-tinged in colour, then you should visit a doctor at the earliest. It could be a sign of an infection.

gynaecological problems
Watch your vaginal discharge. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Each infection has a specific treatment method but all infections are treatable. Not treating an infection early on can lead to infection in the uterus, chronic pelvic pain and infertility.

Here are a few tips for good vaginal hygiene to help you avoid infections:

  • Never use feminine hygiene washes. In addition, avoid douching. Clean your vulva only with soap and water
  • Always clean your vagina from front-to-back.
  • Get a Pap smear test done regularly.
  • Take the cervical cancer vaccine.
  • Get tested for STDs if you have multiple sexual partners.
  • Wear breathable undergarments.
  • Always consume probiotics to maintain a good vaginal flora.
  • Annual vaginal checkups are the key to avoiding infections.
4. Abnormal uterine bleeding

Another common problem which most women suffer from is abnormal uterine bleeding. Normal uterine bleeding is when the amount of blood you lose during a period is between 5 ml to 80 ml. It should be between 2 teaspoons to 12 teaspoons. Usually, a period lasts anywhere between 2 to 7 days. If you are bleeding more than this and passing clots, you should ideally see a doctor for abnormal uterine bleeding.

The causes of this condition can be described using the abbreviation PALMCOIN, where:

P- Polyps in the uterus
A- Adenomyosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows inside the muscle of the uterus, reducing its ability to contract and stop bleeding
L- Leiomyoma, also know as fibroid, is an overgrowth of the muscle of the uterus
M- Malignancy or cancer of the uterus or the ovary
C- Coagulation abnormality is a disorder of the blood which causes clotting issues
O- Ovulation disorders like PCOD, thyroid abnormality or increased prolactin levels
I- Intake of hormones like emergency contraceptive pills or oral contraceptive pills
N- When there is abnormal uterine bleeding but no abnormality is detected.

So, if you are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, it is best to speak with a doctor to ascertain the cause. Typically, you will be requested to get your hormone levels checked and go for an ultrasound.

gynaecological problems
Vaginal problem can go way too wrong if not taken care of. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Period pain

Mild period cramps are part and parcel of menstruation. Majority of the women report experiencing painful cramps when they’re on their period.

So, having mild period cramps is absolutely normal. Tips to get over them are:

  • Put a hot pack on your lower tummy.
  • Exercise even when you’re menstruating. Working out helps in the release of happy hormones and hence, reduces pain.
  • Don’t shy away from taking antispasmodic medications because they will help soothe the pain.

In case the period pain is too extreme and you can’t seem to relieve it using simple methods, you should ideally see a doctor. Moreover, if the period pain is stopping you from carrying out your daily chores, it could point to an underlying medical condition. The causes behind severe menstrual cramps include endometriosis, adenomyosis, and pelvic infections. All these conditions need to be addressed by a medical professional.

The take-home message is to learn about your body, understand what is normal and what is abnormal. This will help you understand what is going on. Don’t ignore new changes you notice. We can prevent various medical conditions from developing by catching certain diseases in the early stages. Follow a healthy lifestyle and don’t shy away from visiting your gynaecologist. Even when everything is normal, visiting your doctor for annual checkups is recommended.

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About the Author
Dr Amodita Ahuja Dr Amodita Ahuja

She is a Delhi based obstetrician and gynecologist along with specialising in laparoscopic surgeon and infertility specialist.

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