The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world; yet women who are at the helm of the world’s happenings have to face innumerable health challenges from puberty to menopause and from dysmenorrhea to labour pains. In addition with cervical and breast cancers becoming common killers across the globe, women have a great deal to contend with. Addressing these issues hence is important not just for women but for society itself. In this regard, The Navhind Times invited gynaecologist, obstetrician and IVF specialist, Dr. Kedar Padte as a guest on the, ‘Talk from the Heart’ show that aired on Sunday, August 8 on the Goa 365 channel.
Padte who holds an MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and conceptualised “One World” in December 1979 for the unification of the world; has also published a book on the same topic in November 2013. He has the distinction of treating over 30000 patients of infertility in 26 years with over 9000 pregnancies and has delivered more than 300 IVF babies so far.
The first topic on the show was puberty and issues related to it. With girls menstruating earlier today than ever before, parents are definitely worried. Explaining the reason behind early menstruation, Padte said, “This is related to the external stimulus. When a girl is growing, her reproductive organs are kept in check by the hormones secreted by the pineal gland and as she grows and becomes mature and starts understanding sexuality, the inhibitory effect of the pineal gland goes off and she starts menstruating.” Lack of exercise, a high calorie and junk food diet and exposure to sexual content through media, internet, etcetera are some reasons for this pre-mature menstrual cycle, he said. He also spoke about the reasons and medication for menstrual pain and clotting.
Asked which conditions today are on the rise, he answered, “Vaginal, urinary and pelvic infections are common as well as premenstrual syndrome which in many young girls causes irritation, mood swings and in some cases can have psychological effects as well.” Fibroids, endometriosis and excessive bleeding too he said were on the rise for older women. “Every woman who has delivered should do a pap smear test as cervical cancer is common as well as a breast examination and if required a mammogram to detect and prevent breast cancer,” he suggested.
The other conditions he spoke at length about were pre-menopause and menopause. “Just as the average age of puberty was fourteen to fifteen and has now come down to ten and even nine, so also the menopausal age has got delayed. Earlier menopause used to start at forty–two or forty- five however today it is between forty-seven and fifty years, in fact there are some women who menstruate at even fifty-four. If they are healthy and their pap smear and uterus are normal then there is no worry if menopause is delayed,” he opined.
Elaborating on the importance of a pap smear and breast examination, Padte said, these need to be done a regular basis. “After the first birthday of her child, a woman should get a pap smear done and then repeat it after every three years. Also every woman should learn self breast examination and this can be done using the flat of the hand and palpating the breast to check for lump fat.” He also recommended a mammogram to be done every three years. “There is no need for an X-ray mammogram as a sono-mamogram is also equally good,” he added.
With 40 to 50% of women having fibroids, becoming aware of what they are and how they are to be treated is useful. Explaining what exactly a fibroid is, Padte said, “A fibroid is a non-cancerous tumour of the uterine muscle. Most of the time they are few and are asymptomatic, and if they are outside the uterus or biometrium, they do not need surgical intervention. The ones inside the uterus or intramural fibroids which do not cause pain or excessive bleeding also do not have to be dealt with surgically. However the submucosal fibroids are likely to become far more symptomatic with pain and excessive bleeding and there action needs to be taken.“
PCOD, breast and ovarian cancers, birth control, IVF treatment and various other topics were also discussed in detail.