Healthy after 40
40 is an important milestone in a woman’s life. She can look forward to more time for herself and a productive few decades ahead of her. Yet this is often the time when a woman encounters a lot of health problems such as heavy or irregular menses, prolapse of the womb, leakage of urine on coughing, tumours such as fibroids and cancers such as those of the cervix (mouth of the womb), uterus (womb), ovary and breast. Medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension often begin at this age.
Care at this stage can pick up a lot of serious problems of the future. A regular blood test especially for sugar, cholesterol, thyroid, and kidney functions will pick up specific problems.
An annual gynaecological examination and consultation can give a lot of information on how to deal with common problems. A PAP Smear can be taken at the same time. This is a simple test to diagnose cancer of the mouth of uterus and should be done regularly from the time a woman is sexually active.
Once a month breast self-examination helps pick up breast cancer, which is the commonest cancer amongst women in Mumbai. However by the time the tumour is felt by the hand it is already quite large and spread.Hence a yearly mammography should be done, which can pick up even very early cancer.
Cancer of the uterus & ovary are very silent . A patient starts getting symptoms when the cancer has reached a very late stage.Hence an yearly sonography would be the right thing to do.
Bones tend to start becoming weak and fragile few years before menopause. Exercise and good diet with plenty of calcium will prevent this from happening. Addition to ones diet of soya products and lots of fruits and vegetables will help reduce menopausal symptoms. Early diagnosis of all conditions ensures complete and efficient treatment.
It is important to not neglect any symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, abdominal bloating and discomfort, breast lump, bone pains etc. If you feel completely healthy too, an annual health check up is recommended. A woman is the backbone of the family – you owe it to yourself and to your family to take care of your health.
Routine health check
Routine checkups can find health problems early. For many health problems, early treatment can help prevent more grave problems. The value of checkups and how often you have them depends mainly on your age and gender. Your own health history and family health history also play a role.
The cancer screening summaries are based on various levels of published scientific evidence and collective clinical experience. The highest level of evidence is taken as mortality reduction in controlled, randomized clinical trials. The results of clinical studies, case-control studies, cohort studies, and other information are also considered in formulating the summaries. In addition, the incidence of cancer, stage distribution, treatment, and mortality rates are considered. The summaries are subject to modification as new evidence becomes available.
physicians use radiography, or x-rays, to view and evaluate bone fractures and other injuries of the musculoskeletal system. However, a plain x-ray test is not the best way to assess bone density. To detect osteoporosis accurately, doctors use an enhanced form of x-ray technology called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA). DEXA bone densitometry is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD). DEXA is a quick, painless procedure for measuring bone loss. Measurement of the lower spine and hips are most often done. More portable devices that measure the wrist, fingers or heel are sometimes used for screening, including some that use ultrasound waves rather than x-rays.
Hormone Replacement Therapy with traditional or new drugs
Alternative medicines for relief of menopausal symptoms
Women commonly use soy products, herbs, and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies for menopausal symptoms..
I am 5 months pregnant and have no problems. However my first baby was born in the 7th month and my doctor after examining me told me that I need to get stitches on the mouth of the womb in order to prevent an early delivery again. I am scared of a surgery in pregnancy. Is it absolutely necessary? Jayantika
The problem that you have is probably cervical incompetence, where the cervix (mouth of the womb) is weak and begins to open much earlier during pregnancy than it should. If the cervix opens or is short, the chances of premature delivery are high. This condition causes no problems or pain to the patient who is usually unaware that the cervix has opened out. This can be diagnosed only on sonogarphy or on an internal check up by the doctor. As you already have a preterm delivery in the past, it is definitely safer for you to get a cervical stitch taken. This is a simple and safe procedure and takes only a few minutes to do. However you may need to be in hospital for a few days for rest. This simple stitch helps many patients to bear the child till the 9th month and the stitch is cut off a few weeks before delivery.
An ectopic pregnancy is one where the pregnancy gets stuck in the tube or ovary rather than in the womb (uterus). This is diagnosed clinically or on sonography. It is a dangerous condition as the tube can burst and there can be severe bleeding inside the pelvis, therefore treatment has to be done urgently. This can be treated either with special injections of drugs such methotrexate or by key hole surgery (laparoscopic surgery) where the tube can be removed or only the pregnancy is removed and the tube is saved if it looks healthy.