Women's Health, Throughout the Years
Even though both men and woman are known to have similar health issues, yet some of the health issues of women require special attention. There comes a time in a girl’s life when she hits puberty and upheavals into adulthood. At that time various health issues arise such as infertility, breast cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, pelvic floor disorders, cervical cancer and much more. Often women do not receive regular doctor consultations and checkups because according to them, they feel no difference in their health as they do not experience any medical symptoms. Women’s health is one important topic that has been disregarded many times in the past. In spite of that, today, women’s health is one of the top issues discussed in the society as various medical experts and scientists have discovered that women have many health problems just like men(1).
Importance of Female Specific Products
Nowadays, the busy work schedule, daily commuting to the workplace, and other social activities affect the lifestyle of a woman and long with that it also affects the feminine hygienic. The medical experts have repeatedly stated that feminine hygienic is one of the most important factors to lead a healthy and happy life and it plays an important role in both reproductive and sexual health of a female. Even though the intimate areas of a woman have its own cleaning system but it still requires conventional hygienic practices. Today, many women have taken to follow the feminine hygienic guidelines provided by the World Health Organization(2), yet medical experts have asserted that there are various cases where women suffer from vaginal related health which includes unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation or itching, vaginal dryness, unnatural vaginal odor. That is why doctors and medical experts have always recommended using feminine specific products. It is best to use natural feminine products that do not have any added fragrances or unwanted chemicals.
Nutrition for Women
Just like feminine hygienic, nutrition also plays an important role in a woman’s life. At every phase of a woman’s life, nutrition lays the foundation for a healthy and nourishing lifestyle. The needs of nutrients and energy adapt to the changes over the life span. In a woman’s life, the nutritional needs change when she is pregnant, menstruating, breastfeeding her child and when she goes through menopause. The reciprocity of hormones affects the body of a woman and her state of mind. During her adolescent days, calcium is important for the development of bones and iron is important for the development of the brain. When a woman is pregnant or lactating, folate is necessary to avoid birth defects in her baby and calcium is important for the fetus to develop bones and teeth. Other nutrients a pregnant woman needs are iodine, protein, zinc and vitamin C. During menopause, antioxidants protect the cells from damage, vitamin B provides a healthy nervous system and Omega 3 fatty acids prevent hot flashes during postmenopausal in women.
What is Menstruation?
Menstruation(3) is a natural function of a woman’s body when she reaches of reproductive age. The menstrual cycle occurs after every 28 to 30 days and it involves four different stages which include menstruation, the follicular, ovulation, and the luteal. In the course of the menstrual cycle, the levels of estrogen increase which enable to develop stronger bones and thickens the lining of the uterus. This process is the first of the menstrual cycle. Then during ovulation, the levels of hormone increases and prepares the woman’s body for pregnancy. At the end of the menstrual cycle, the level of hormone decreases and the lining of the uterus is shed. Often a girl starts to have her first period between the ages 12 to 14. Women have periods till they go through menopause which means she not ovulating anymore.
Nutrition during Preconception and Pregnancy
Preconception involves preparing mentally for the pregnancy and being able to care for the baby. It involves internal medicine, regular visits to the gynecologist and a certified midwife. It is important for the woman to check whether she has the right body weight to get pregnant because if she is overweight or underweight, it will affect both her and her baby’s health. She must check whether she has type 1 or type 2 diabetes and even hypertension. During preconception, a woman must intake 450 micrograms of folic acid along with other dietary supplements. She must intake irons because if she suffers from iron deficiency, the fetus will also suffer the same and will eventually develop anemia. Vitamins such as B, C, and E are important during preconception. Meanwhile, during pregnancy, it is important for the mother to intake healthy diet every day and this will also enable the fetus to develop well. Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients a woman should intake during pregnancy. It is a B vitamin which enables to produce cells in both the fetus and the mother. Folic acid can be found in fortified grains, leafy vegetables, and other supplements. It helps to prevent Spinabifida(4) which is a condition where the spinal column of the fetus cannot close completing in the first month of pregnancy and thus prevents the development of spinal cord in the fetus.
Menopause often occurs when a woman reaches between the ages of 45 to 50. This is a natural phase in a woman’s life which indicates that she is no longer ovulating and the body reduces the levels of estrogen. As a result, menstruation occurs irregularly and very less till it stops completely. Some of the symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, changes in mood, thinning of hair, weight gain, slow metabolism and having problems during sleep. During menopause, it is very important for the woman to intake required nutrients and vitamins for the lead a healthy life. Calcium is necessary for the body to keep the bones and teeth strong, even during the old age. Calcium can be found in dairy products, canned fish, nuts and seeds and green leafy vegetables. While Vitamin D prevents various health conditions which include cancer, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Foods that are rich in Vitamin D are mushrooms, oysters, and oily fish.
Every woman must go through full body checkup at least once in every three months. No one can say when a problem will arise but it is important to be careful and if a woman is diagnosed with a health condition, it is necessary for her to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Leading a healthy life should be number one priority of every woman.
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