On this month’s session of She Is You, we had the hilarious Dr Yinka who opened up the discussion on women’s health. The room came alive with some of her facts on the dreaded monthly cycle, sexual health, cervical screening, breast awareness and many more! She gave us some tips on how to deal with these issues with a huge disclaimer – *her advice are to be taken after consulting our own GP*. Here are some of the issues we touched on;
- ¼ women spend more of their life in poor health than men. This is generally because women tend to lead busier lives so health is less of a priority. Twice as many women suffer from depression than men. Tips: While this was more on the mental health side of things, some of the tips were to – get regular check ups, eat healthy, know your body, your limits and your strengths.
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – these are changes in your body’s hormone levels before your monthly period which can cause physical and emotional changes. Tips: Get some regular exercise, plenty of sleep yoga / meditation. Medications such as pill, therapy and antidepressant – depending on what works best for you.
- Heavy periods (Menorrhagia) may be caused by fibroids or PCOS – Polycystic ovary syndrome. Endometriosis – a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Tips: See your GP for further tests, drink plenty of water , take extra iron, take the pill (with hormones), Tranexamic acid / NSAIDs (no hormones), the coil, management of fibroids.
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea) this usually occurs when the muscular wall of the womb contracts to encourage the lining to shed away. This is usually worse when your bleeding is severely heavy. Tips: Exercise, hot water bottle, massage, relaxation techniques, pain killers, the pill and the coil.
- STI’s affect up to 50% of people under 25 years at some point in their life. Some of which are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, genital warts, herpes…etc Tips: Get regular check ups at sexual health clinics – especially before and after changing partners, use protection during sexual intercourse.
We then moved on to the most common type of cancers which affect women. With breast cancer being the most common type of cancer in the UK, approximately 1 in 8 women diagnosed during their lifetime. Tips: Check your breasts regular for lumps and see your GP if you think you might be at risk.
Cervical cancer : 99.8% of cervical cancer cases are preventable and women aged 25 – 49% are more likely to be at risk. Human papillomavirus Virus (HPV) causes most of cervical cancer which is mainly sexually transmitted. Tips: Find cell changes regularly to prevent them from turning into cancer. Check the health of your cervix by having a cervical screening (smear test).
We rounded off the session with Q&As and thank yous from around the room. The session highlighted the importance of women’s health, having a safe space to talk about these issues and why we need to remove the taboo of talking about body issues which affect us all. In three words – WOMEN’S HEALTH MATTERS!